ACOs Can Improve Care and Reduce Costs in Underserved Areas, But May Require Startup Subsidies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
ABT-AssociatesMatthew Trombley, Ph.D.
Abt Associates 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: CMS developed the Accountable Care Organization

(ACO) Investment Model (AIM) as part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) to encourage the growth of ACOs in rural and underserved areas.  The goal of our study was to see if AIM ACOs could successfully decrease Medicare spending in these areas.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We estimated that, in the first performance year, AIM ACOs yielded a net savings of $48.6 million to Medicare, mostly by keeping their beneficiaries out of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: AIM ACOs can improve patient care and reduce Medicare spending in rural and underserved areas, but providers may require startup funding in order to form ACOs in these areas.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Results are from AIM’s first performance year.  Researchers will want to verify that our findings are maintained through the second and third years of the model. It will also be interesting to see whether these ACOs remain in MSSP and opt to take on additional risk.

Disclosures: Our independent evaluation was funded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (part of CMS).



Early Effects of an Accountable Care Organization Model for Underserved Areas

August 8, 2019
N Engl J Med 2019; 381:543-551
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1816660

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Last Updated on August 14, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD