Primary Care First: Frequently Asked Questions

by John Harris, Director
Amanda Brown, Manager

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What is the Primary Care First Program (PCF)? PCF is a voluntary 5-year CMS Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) with two care models—one for “Advanced” primary care and one for high-need, seriously ill Medicare beneficiaries (Seriously Ill Population, or SIP). The latter is aimed primarily at providers who typically provide hospice or palliative services. Practices […]

ACO Pathways to Success: Final Rule Softens Impact

by Amanda Brown and John Harris

CMS published its final rule, the “Pathways to Success” for the Medicare Shared Savings Program, in December 2018. CMS’ overall goal is clear and unchanged from the proposed rule: to put the “accountability” back in accountable care by moving ACOs more quickly to downside risk. While the final rule tracks the proposed rule issued in […]

6 Big Changes in Proposed ACO Regulations

by John Harris, Director & Molly Johnson, Manager

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On August 9, 2018, CMS issued new proposed regulations for MSSP ACOs that, if finalized, will result in far-reaching changes in the program. The motivation for the proposed changes, which CMS calls “Pathways to Success,” is simple: CMS wants to move ACOs to risk more quickly. The great majority of 2018 participating ACOs are not […]

Do Your ACO’s Provider Distributions Need to Be at Fair Market Value?

by William Hamilton, Manager

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Accountable Care Organizations (“ACOs”) receive a substantial portion of their revenue through shared savings programs in which payers pay the ACO a portion of total cost savings generated by member providers through effective care management. The ACOs then distribute part of the shared savings to participating healthcare providers, based on a distribution formula; the remainder […]

ACOs: To Risk, Or Not To Risk?

by Idette Elizondo, Manager; Amanda Brown, Senior Associate;
& Alexandra D'Innocenzo, Associate

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Despite many uncertainties, the shift toward value based payment continues. More Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs have entered risk-based tracks (Tracks 2, 3, and now Track 1+), to take advantage of MACRA’s[1] 5% bonus to physicians in risk-based payment models. The latest numbers about exactly how many have selected risk for next year will […]

Medicare Shared Savings Program 2015 Results and the Future of ACOs

by Idette Elizondo, Manager & Amanda Brown, Senior Associate

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To date, just under one-third of accountable care organizations (ACOs) have been eligible to share in savings.  This situation is changing somewhat as ACOs gain experience in managing populations of patients for high quality and low cost healthcare. As of 2016, nearly 50 percent of Medicare lives were covered in non-traditional arrangements, including Medicare Advantage […]

MACRA and the New ACO Dynamic

by Amanda Brown, Senior Associate; Idette Elizondo, Manager; John Harris, Director

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CMS wants more physicians to participate in ACOs and other alternative payment models (APMs). It’s best if they are risk-taking ACOs, but any ACO seems to be better than none. At least, that is what the incentives in MACRA seem to indicate. Prior to the passage of MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act […]