Mixed Results from Accountable Care Organization Experiment
Mixed Results from Accountable Care Organization Experiment

Last Friday, Medicare released performance data for the first time on the success of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) around the country, and the initial results are mixed.

ACOs are networks of health care providers that voluntarily work together to provide coordinated care to patients. ACOs seek to improve the coordination of care between disparate providers – including hospitals and independent physicians – and provide opportunities for ACO members to share any savings that result. They also hold one of the greatest hopes of the type of health care delivery system reform needed to generate big costs savings and even bigger quality gains.

Since 2012, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) has been putting this hope to the test by funding several iterations of the ACO model – including a Shared Savings Program, an Advance Payment Model, and a Pioneer Model for networks already engaged in care coordination.

Friday’s data release provides information on five of 33 total quality measures being tracking by CMMI for the 2012 Shared Saving Program. The data show varying levels of success in ACOs’ control of patients’ diabetes and heart disease. According to the Kaiser Health News’ analysis of the data, which is accessible on an ACO-by-ACO basis, average ACOs reached the Medicare goals for 65 percent to 75 percent of their patients.

While this data represent only seven percent of the total potential savings within the ACO Shared Savings Program, all eyes will certainly be on CMMI as performance results continue to trickle in.