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Accountable Care Organizations final rule released today

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the final rule for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) today. The new program is designed for physicians, hospitals and other providers to coordinate the care of Medicare patients with the goal of improving quality while reducing cost. Successful ACOs would share in any savings they produce for Medicare on top of their usual fee-for-service reimbursements. To view the regulation, please visit http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-27461_PI.pdf The National Rural Health Association submitted its comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed final rule relating to ACOs and the Medicare Shared Savings Program in June. An ACO is an integrated organization that endeavors to produce higher quality care through coordination and communication while reducing costs through the elimination of redundant procedures. Private market ACOs have been around for 50-60 years and include big names such as Kaiser Permanente and Cleveland Clinic.  While the ACO concept has garnered significant support, many organizations, associations and hospitals have been wary of the structure proposed in the current regulation NRHA is currently analyzing the impact the new regulations would have on rural providers. Please continue to monitor this blog and our website for full reports on the ACO rule. Please contact NRHA government affairs at (202) 639-0550 with any questions.

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