Medicaid ACO demo targets poorest patients

Although closely related in name, the Medicare and Medicaid accountable care organization (ACO) models can vary greatly, noted Joel C. Cantor, director of the Center for State Health Policy and professor of public policy at Rutgers University. Signed into New Jersey law in August, the Medicaid ACO Demonstration Project is a state-level Medicaid version of ACOs, geared specifically for low-income people as its defined population. The Medicare Shared Savings Program, however, allows ACOs to pick and choose their patient mix. "The New Jersey Medicaid ACO model avoids these perverse incentives," Cantor said in an opinion column in NJ Spotlight. In addition, the Medicaid ACO project is committed to reinvesting "every dollar" of shared savings back into Medicaid beneficiaries, while there's no guarantee that Medicare ACOs will return the investment in care improvement, according to Cantor. The Medicaid ACO demonstration will run for three years. Column