As a financial incentive to smaller accountable care organizations (ACO), ACOs in rural areas will be eligible for a savings exemption, according to a clarification released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS).
On March 31, CMS released proposed rules to increase participation from rural physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. ACOs would otherwise need to meet a 2 percent savings threshold. However, to the relief of some rural facilities and providers, the CMS clarification will permit ACOs with fewer than 10,000 assigned beneficiaries to be exempt from this rule.
"The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] recognizes the unique needs and challenges of rural communities and the importance of rural providers in assuring access to health care," states the CMS factsheet.