NC Makes Strong Showing On CMS’ List of New and Renewing ACOs

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Monday that three accountable care organizations (ACOs) in North Carolina had been selected to participate in the Next Generation ACO Model in 2016. Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, Triad HealthCare Network in Greensboro and WakeMed Key Community Care in Raleigh were among the 21 organizations nationwide that were chosen to join the new program.

These ACOs already have experience coordinating care for populations of patients through CMS’ Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).  CMS has recognized that these groups have the knowledge and expertise to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward as part of the Next Generation of ACOs.

“We are confident the model will continue to better align our efforts to ensure the needs of our patients and their families remain at the center of what we do every day,” Steve Neorr, chief administrative officer for Triad HealthCare Network, said in a statement.

North Carolina has proved fertile ground for this new, value-based model of care. On Monday, CMS also announced 100 new ACOs under the MSSP, and among those were five ACOs that will serve patients in North Carolina. They are: Physician Quality Partners, which is part of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center; Sandhills Accountable Care Alliance, part of Sandhills Physicians in Fayetteville; Tar River Health Alliance, part of the Boice-Willis clinic in the Rocky Mount area; and two organizations headquartered out-of-state — Central Virginia Coalition of Healthcare Providers and National Rural ACO 3.

Tar River along with another North Carolina ACO, Carolina Medical Home Network ACO, also are participating in the Accountable Care Investment Model or AIM program. This program offers pre-paid shared savings to encourage new ACOs to form in rural and under served areas. NCMS is working with these practices and others as part of our Rural ACO Initiative to offer support and resources to help them succeed.

CMS also listed the 147 ACOs nationwide that are continuing in the MSSP for the coming year. This includes the well-established Coastal Carolina Quality Care in New Bern and Physicians Healthcare Collaborative (Wilmington Health) in Wilmington.

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has spearheaded the Toward Accountable Care Consortium and Initiative over the last three years, offering fledgling ACOs and those practices interested in this new model of care resources and a forum for exchange of best practices and ideas. Learn more and read a feature on Triad HealthCare Network and other North Carolina ACOs.

Medicare ACOs have grown to over 477 nationwide, currently serving nearly 8.9 million beneficiaries since the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and Pioneer ACO Model began in 2012. The results over the past four years have demonstrated ACOs can provide better quality of care for beneficiaries while producing savings, according to CMS.

Last fall, CMS released the 2014 quality and financial performance results for ACOs that started the program in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Nationwide, 92 Shared Savings Program ACOs held spending $806 million below their targets and earned performance payments of more than $341 million as their share of program savings. The results showed that ACOS with more experience in the program were more likely to generate shared savings. The results also showed  ACOs that reported on their quality in both 2013 and 2014 improved on 27 of the 33 quality measures, including patients’ ratings of clinicians’ communication, beneficiaries’ rating of their doctors, screening for tobacco use and cessation, screening for high blood pressure, and Electronic Health Record use. ACOs also outperformed group practices on 18 out of 22 reported quality measures, according to the report.


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