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New Funding Initiatives Boost Accountable Care Organizations and Enhance Medicare Services

CMS Enhances Accountable Care Organization Landscape in 2024

New Funding Initiatives Boost Accountable Care Organizations and Enhance Medicare Services

New Funding Initiatives Boost Accountable Care Organizations and Enhance Medicare Services

January 31, 2024  – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced increased participation in CMS’ accountable care organization (ACO) initiatives in 2024. This is good news for Medicare, as ACOs are designed to increase the quality of care for beneficiaries. 

This year, CMS announced 19 newly formed ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, which have stepped into the limelight with a game-changing financial boost. Over $20 million in advance investment payments are set to flow, specifically earmarked for enhancing care in underserved communities. These funds are part of a broader wave of expansion, with 50 additional ACOs set to join in 2024 while 71 renewed their commitment. This brings the total count to a record 480 ACOs under the Shared Savings Program umbrella.

But the advancements don’t stop there. CMS announced that 245 organizations are continuing their journey in CMS Innovation Center models – ACO REACH and the Kidney Care Choices models. This concerted effort underscores CMS’s dedication to bridging gaps in healthcare access and quality, with a particular focus on accountable care initiatives that promise a more integrated and patient-centric approach to healthcare.

“One of CMS’ top priorities is to expand access to quality, affordable health coverage and care,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Accountable care initiatives – which give more tools to health care providers to deliver better care and help people receive more coordinated care – through programs like the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Innovation Center accountable care initiatives are critical to achieving this vision.”

At the heart of these ACOs is a commitment to collaborative care, where teams of doctors, hospitals, and healthcare professionals unite with a shared goal: to deliver seamless, high-quality healthcare that’s both effective and cost-efficient. The 19 ACOs benefiting from the advance investment payments are set to ramp up their infrastructure, staffing, and service delivery, with initiatives ranging from hiring community health workers to implementing cutting-edge health assessment tools.

The ripple effect of these initiatives is profound. Approximately 13.7 million individuals under Traditional Medicare are now aligned with an ACO, representing nearly half of this demographic. This growth not only highlights the effectiveness of ACOs in delivering superior care but also underscores their role in generating savings for the Medicare Trust Fund.

The introduction of advance investment payments is a strategic move by CMS, inspired by the success of the ACO Investment Model in fostering participation, particularly in rural and underserved areas. This approach is a testament to the Innovation Center’s invaluable contributions to shaping a more equitable and efficient healthcare system.

With 480 ACOs now serving over 10.8 million people under Traditional Medicare, the landscape is set for transformative change. The increase in Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, and critical access hospitals participating in ACOs is a clear indicator of the program’s expanding reach and impact.

Looking ahead, the ACO REACH Model and the Kidney Care Choices model are both essential parts of CMS’s strategy to overhaul the healthcare system. This is because they put a strong emphasis on equity and person-centered care. As these models gain momentum, they promise not only to improve the quality of life for beneficiaries but also to pave the way for a healthcare system that is more responsive, inclusive, and effective for all. 

To view the press release from CMS, click here

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