Health Care Reform Blog

CMS Releases its 2012 ACO Application; Pioneer ACOs Advance

by J. Peter Rich and Lesley DeRenzo

Medicare MSSP ACOs

Pursuant to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) final rule released on October 20, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its 2012 Accountable Care Organization (ACO) application.  Organizations interested in participating as an ACO in the MSSP created under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act may now move forward with the application process. 

Organizations must submit a brief Notice of Intent (NOI) to CMS by 5:00 p.m. EST on January 6, 2012.  A link to the NOI is accessible here.

Once CMS receives and processes an applicant’s NOI, the applicant will receive an acknowledgement letter from CMS that contains the applicant’s ACO ID.  Additionally, CMS will provide the applicant with detailed information on how to obtain a CMS user ID (which is necessary to apply for the MSSP). 

After an applicant has obtained an ACO ID and CMS user ID, the applicant should submit the MSSP application to CMS by no later than 5:00 pm EST on January 20, 2011, for the April 1, 2012 contract start date.  Applicants wishing to participate starting July 1, 2012, should submit the MSSP application to CMS by no later than 5:00 pm EST on March 30, 2012.  

For more information about the MSSP application process click here

Separate ACO Development - Pioneer ACOs Advance

In a separate ACO development, CMS has recently pursued partnerships with ACOs through its Pioneer ACO model, led by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMI) within CMS.  The Pioneer ACO program has been designed for health care providers that have relatively more experience with an integrated delivery system model, and thus, greater readiness to contract with CMI as an ACO.  Approximately 40-50 of the Pioneer ACO applicants were offered contracts, and approximately 25-30 Pioneer ACOs are expected to enter into contracts with CMI.  CMI’s collaborations with Pioneer ACOs are aimed at achieving better care for individuals, better health for populations, and reduced expenditures for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries.

For more information about CMI click here.