CMS releases final rule on MSSP ACOs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid late Thursday released its final rule on the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) in an effort to encourage more participation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in risk-based models.

[UPDATE: More flexibility, options under Medicare ACO final rule]

The final rule simplifies rules for ACOs and reduces administrative burdens but also takes into account concerns that industry experts had about the proposed rule, and made additional changes to ensure the program survives.

Existing ACOs that participate in the one-sided model will now be allowed to continue in that program after the end of their first three-year agreement and can keep the same sharing rate of 50 percent.

The rule also modifies its two-sided performance-based risk track (Track 2) and creates an alternative model, known as Track 3, which incorporates a higher sharing rate of 75 percent for taking on more risk.

The changes are welcome news to participating ACOs, who were likely to have exited the program under the current requirements.

Look for more details about the rule and reaction in tomorrow's issue of FierceHealthcare.