20 percent of healthcare organizations on board with Next Generation ACOs

One-fifth of current accountable care organizations say they will participate in the new Next Generation ACO model, according to a survey from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

The new model, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) debuted in March, allows participants to take on more financial risk--and potentially reap greater rewards--and offers more predictable financial targets than earlier programs, such as Pioneer ACOs or the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

Healthcare experts told FierceHealthcare they believe the new model addresses many of the challenges its predecessors have faced, some of which led organizations to exit the Pioneer program. Like the Next-Generation ACO, the new rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program that CMS announced last week also offers participants more options and more opportunities to take part in risk-sharing.

"The flexibility of the Next Generation ACO model, as well as the improved shared savings and data sharing aspects of the recently approved [MSSP] final rule, indicates CMS is taking to heart industry suggestions to retool accountable care models," Melanie Matthews, HIN's executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. "These developments have made the ACO a favored value-based care vehicle."

The majority of respondents to HIN's survey--70 percent--are current participants in the MSSP model. Forty-four percent participate in private ACOs, and the rest take part in Medicaid ACOs, CMS Advance Payment ACOs, the Pioneer ACOs or "other" models.

Close to half (45 percent) said they currently employ a hybrid reimbursement model, encompassing fee-for-service, care coordination and shared savings.

The respondents were also largely optimistic about ACOs: 54 percent said they expect CMS to attain its goal of shifting half of Medicare payments to alternative models by 2018.

While 80 percent of those surveyed said that clinical outcomes are the ultimate measure of an ACO's success, measuring these outcomes may be difficult, as one-third indicated that data analytics pose the greatest challenge to ACOs. Still, 75 percent of respondents said their ACOs are invested in population health management strategies and 25 percent said they plan to launch a new ACO in the coming year.

To learn more:
- check out the survey (registration required)
- here's the statement

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'Next Generation' ACOs: How they differ from Pioneer, MSSP models
'Next Generation' ACO model lauded by healthcare experts
CMS releases final rule on MSSP ACOs
More flexibility, options under Medicare ACO final rule
Medicare ACO quality, savings improve in second year
Confirmed: Nine Pioneer ACOs will exit program, including University of Michigan Health System

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