Medicare’s Pioneer ACOs save money and improve quality outcomes, according to a recent study—and Medicare is considering ways to expand the payment model as a result.
HHS announced May 4, 2015, that an independent evaluation of the Pioneer ACO model—in which experienced health care organizations take on greater financial risk/reward—concluded that such ACOs generated more than $384 million in savings to Medicare over their first two years, while continuing to deliver high-quality care. The study, which was done by Medicare’s independent actuary, said that expansion of Pioneer ACOs would reduce net Medicare spending.
The study found that this type ACO, on average, uses fewer tests, procedures, and inpatient services; provides more timely care; and provides more follow-up visits than counterpart providers in other parts of Medicare. Patrick Conway, the acting principal deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the agency was working on “embedding the lessons we have already learned from the Pioneer model into permanent Medicare programs.”