Category Archives: Accountable Care Organization (ACO)

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CMS Proposes Massive Changes to ACO Program – Pushing Providers to Accept Downside Risk

On Thursday, August 9, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a Proposed Rule (the “Proposed Rule”)[1] regarding the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP” ) for Accountable Care Organizations (“ACOs”). The Proposed Rule would require ACOs to accept downside risk or shared losses sooner than under the current MSSP and would promote … Continue Reading

Medicare Makes Changes to the Shared Savings Program to Strengthen Incentives for ACO Care Coordination

On June 6th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule shifting how Medicare pays Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.  CMS said the final rule aims to help more ACOs participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program by improving the payment methodology and providing them with … Continue Reading

IRS Denial of Section 501(c)(3) Status for a Commercial ACO

The IRS recently released a ruling, Private Letter Ruling (“PLR”) 201615022, denying Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to a “commercial” accountable care organization (“ACO”).  This is the IRS’ first published guidance regarding a commercial ACO, and the most recent guidance from the IRS regarding the tax-exempt status of ACOs since 2011 when the IRS established that … Continue Reading

There Is Potential Federal Inconsistency Over ACOs

On June 4, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued final revisions to regulations governing accountable care organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”). Among them is one explicitly requiring the formation of an ACO as a formal, separate legal entity for governance purposes whenever there are two or more ACO … Continue Reading

CMS Seeks to Boost ACO Participation Through New Final Rule for MSSP

In line with its earlier announcement to tie increasing percentages of Medicare payments to quality and value through alternative payment models by 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released its final rule updating the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and provisions relating to the payment of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) on June 4, … Continue Reading

State Regulatory Scheme Offering Antitrust Immunity to Healthcare Collaborations Creates Tension Between Federal and State Antitrust Enforcement

On April 22, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission submitted a public letter to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) expressing “strong concerns” over state regulations offering to provide antitrust immunity to certain healthcare collaborations undertaken with DOH’s approval and supervision.  This letter is consistent with the FTC’s continued opposition to grants of immunity … Continue Reading

Medicare ACO v. 3.0—More Risk, More Money?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced on March 10, 2015 that it is adding a new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model to its cadre of innovative models.[1] Titled the “Next Generation ACO Model,” CMS’ new ACO model allows provider groups to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward than currently available under … Continue Reading

New Venture Seeks to Support Independent Physicians in Texas

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas are launching a new services company, TMA PracticeEdge, to facilitate bringing the benefits of value-based reimbursements to the state’s independent physicians. Independent practitioners face challenges to participating in (and benefitting from) alternatives to fee-for-service payment, such as having the funds necessary to invest … Continue Reading

Task Force of Healthcare Providers and Insurers are Shifting to Incentive Based Contracts

Some of the largest healthcare providers and insurers in the country have joined to form the Healthcare Transformation Task Force in an effort to change healthcare industry payment models.  The announcement of the task force and its efforts come shortly after the Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to overhaul Medicare’s fee-for-service program … Continue Reading

HHS Aims to Tie Most Medicare Reimbursements to Quality by 2018

On January 26, 2015, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced specific goals and a timeline for shifting Medicare reimbursements from the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) model, to a quality or value-based model.[1] This is the first time in Medicare’s history that HHS is setting specific goals for such a shift. Secretary Burwell … Continue Reading

CMS’ Proposed Regulations Include Significant Antitrust Implications For Entities Interested In Forming ACOs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released proposed regulations to clarify and build on current regulatory requirements for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).  Among the changes is one addressing when an ACO must be formed as an independent legal entity, separate from any of its … Continue Reading

MSSP ACO Program’s Proposed Rule Highlights Significant Impacts on ACOs and Healthcare Providers

Sheppard Mullin recently prepared an executive summary of a proposed rule issued on December 1, 2014 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), at the request of the American Health Lawyers Association.  If adopted, the rule would modify the regulatory requirements for Accountable Care Organizations (“ACOs”) that participate in the Medicare Shared Savings … Continue Reading

Pioneer ACOs: Slowed Health Spending, Improved Quality and More Drop Outs?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released second year results on its Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program. [1] [2]  The Pioneer ACO program is CMS’ ambitious foray into the ACO space and a predecessor to the broader Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) that has resulted in the formation of hundreds of … Continue Reading
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