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CMS to Delay Start of "Pioneer" ACO Demonstration

In response to concern about the plausibility of the current ACO structure, CMS has released two alternatives and one help session for those interested in pursuing the concept but were unhappy with the current structure.  The most "ground ready" program is the "Pioneer" model designed to provide higher incentives, and higher risks, to those whose systems are already integrated and can hit the ground running faster.  Many organizations, though, have indicated that they will not be ready to start by the initial dates set for this demonstration.  From Rachana Dixit at InsideHealthPolicy.com: "CMS is delaying the letter-of-intent and application deadlines for entities interested in participating in the innovation center’s “pioneer” accountable care organization demonstration, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation official told stakeholders Tuesday (June 7), after providers said they needed more time to apply for the demonstration. Those who want to participate in the Pioneer ACO demonstration must submit a letter of intent by June 30 and the application by Aug. 19, extended from the original deadlines of June 10 and July 18, respectively. Hoangmai Pham, CMMI’s director of ACO Programs, said the center has heard loud and clear from provider organizations that they would like more time to put together a strong application for the demonstration." While the "Pioneer" model is the first large addition to the proposed rule, many commentators have guessed that many modifications to the proposed rule will be made before a final rule is published. The Innovation Center is also expected to produce many more alternative programs in an attempt to cater to a broader provider pool.

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