CMS poised to select first Pioneer ACOs

UPDATED: 11/4/11 5:31pm--One of the largest health systems in Arizona is poised to become the first accountable care organization (ACO) under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Pioneer ACO program, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick has said that the organization plans to have several Pioneer ACOs in place by the end of year. The Pioneer ACO model is estimated to save Medicare as much as $430 million over three years by improving the care management of Medicare beneficiaries. The model is designed to work in coordination with private payers with the goal of saving money and improving care quality and outcomes, CMS said.

Banner Health has thrown its hat in the ring to be approved as a Pioneer ACO. However, as of Friday, Nov. 4, CMS had not finalized a contract with the organization, Banner spokeswoman Nancy Neff said.

Although early media reports, including one by FierceHealthcare, indicated that CMS had approved Banner Health as its first Pioneer ACO, Neff said that "no contract has been signed."

"With respect to Banner Health and the Pioneer ACO program, the process is still underway," she told FierceHealthcare.

Banner Health is the state's second largest private employer with more than 28,000 employees, according to the organization's website.

For more information:
- read the Phoenix Business Journal article

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Editor's Note: This article was updated to reflect clarifications from Banner Health.