The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced the first 27 organizations to be recognized as accountable care organizations under the Medicare Shared Savings Program.   According to CMS, these 27 Shared Savings Program ACOs will serve an estimated 375,000 beneficiaries in 18 States.   The selected ACOs include more than 10,000 physicians, 10 hospitals, and 13 smaller physician-driven organizations in both urban and rural areas.

This brings the total number of organizations participating Medicare shared savings initiatives as of April 2012, to 65 organizations, including the 32 Pioneer Model ACOs that were announced last December 2011, and the six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011.  In all, as of April 2012, more than 1.1 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.

CMS is reviewing more than 150 applications from ACOs seeking to enter the program in July 2012.

CMS also announced that five of the twenty-seven ACOs are participating in the Advance Payment ACO Model beginning April 2012.  This model will provide advance payment of expected shared savings to rural and physician-based ACOs participating in the Shared Savings Program that would benefit from additional start-up resources. These resources will help build the necessary care coordination infrastructure necessary to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs, such as new staff or information technology systems.  The five ACOs selected for Advance Payment are Coastal Carolina Quality Care, Inc. (New Bern, NC); Jackson Purchase Medical Associates, PSC (Paducah, KY); North Country ACO (Littleton, NH);  Primary Partners, LLC (Clermont, FL); and  RGV ACO Health Providers, LLC (Donna, TX).

CMS is reviewing more than 50 applications for Advance Payments t0 start in July 2012.

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