ACOs in Focus

On Wednesday, the American Medical Group Association, in a letter to CMS officials, warned that 93% of its members, mostly large multispecialty medical groups, would not participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs) under the federal health reform law.  The letter said, "Without substantial changes in the Final Rule, we fear that very few providers will enroll as ACOs and that CMS and the provider community will miss the best opportunity to inject value and accountability into the delivery system." Many groups, both rural and urban, have evidenced support of the ACO concept in the past but have greeted the release of the proposed regulation with trepidation. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, acknowledged this concern on Thursday in a House hearing on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Secretary Sebelius said, "We will take the comments very seriously" when working towards a final rule.  Nonetheless, HHS remains anxious to launch its first ACOs by the end of the year, which "has been the goal all along."  NRHA continues to monitor these developments and plans to submit it's official comment in early June.

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