Leading Healthcare Organizations Applaud the Introduction of the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 Last Updated: December 7, 2017
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five leading healthcare organizations applaud the introduction of H.R. 4580, the “ACO Improvement Act of 2017” sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN).

The American Medical Association (AMA), AMGA, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) and Premier agree this legislation provides sensible modifications to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) to support the ability of accountable care organizations (ACOs) to achieve success by reducing unnecessary costs, improving quality and enhancing patient outcomes. The bill makes operational changes that will promote coordinated healthcare and encourage Medicare ACOs to succeed and remain a strong value-based healthcare initiative for the nation’s senior citizens.

H.R. 4580 includes:

  • Waivers for all ACO tracks on cost-sharing for certain primary care services, and waivers for existing rules on telemedicine and remote monitoring
  • Three-day prior hospitalization waiver for skilled nursing facility services and waiver of the homebound requirement for 2-sided tracks
  • ACO choice of method for assigning beneficiaries
  • Bonus payments for quality achievement and for quality improvement
  • Improved methodology to better account for changes in patient health status over time

Clif Gaus, NAACOS president and CEO, commented, “signing this bill into law would strengthen ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and give physicians and clinicians more tools to provide better-coordinated care, resulting in improved quality standards and generating savings for the Medicare Trust Fund.”

“We applaud Reps. Black and Welch for their continued leadership to improve the Accountable Care Organization program,” said Jerry Penso, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of AMGA. “The ACO Improvement Act will significantly improve the viability of the federal ACO program, which is a critical delivery model in the transition to value. This bill includes prospective assignment of Medicare beneficiaries, which allows AMGA members in the ACO program to provide better care and enhance patient engagement. AMGA looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure the success of the ACO program.”

In addition, Blair Childs, senior vice president of Public Affairs at Premier noted, “ACOs face a number of uphill battles today from antiquated policies and other complex variables. It’s critical that the Medicare Shared Savings Program urgently evolves to ensure the long-term success of its participants and the program overall, particularly as more providers pursue downside risk models. This is important legislation that helps to address some of the significant impediments for providers participating in ACOs, and we look forward to working with our health system members and Congress to get this bill passed and signed into law.”

Anders Gilberg, senior vice president, MGMA Government Affairs stated, “ACOs remain the single biggest opportunity for medical group practices to transition into Medicare alternative payment models. These common-sense reforms would go a long way towards ensuring success of medical groups in the Medicare ACO program.”

About AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted the AMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

About AMGA

AMGA is a trade association leading the transformation of healthcare in America. Representing multispecialty medical groups and integrated systems of care, we advocate, educate, and empower our members to deliver the next level of high performance health. AMGA is the national voice promoting awareness of medical groups’ recognized excellence in the delivery of coordinated, high-quality, cost-effective care. More than 175,000 physicians practice in our member organizations, delivering care to one in three Americans. For more information, visit amga.org.

About MGMA

Since 1926, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has been the premiere association for professionals who lead medical practices. With a membership of more than 40,000 medical practice administrators, executives, and leaders, MGMA represents more than 12,500 organizations of all sizes, types, structures, and specialties that deliver almost half of the healthcare in the United States.

About NAACOS

National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization that allows accountable care organizations (ACOs) to work together to increase quality of care, lower costs, and improve the health of their communities. Determined to create an environment for advocacy and shared learning, organizations representing more than 260 ACOs from all 50 states including the District of Columbia, have formed NAACOS. www.naacos.com

About Premier Inc.

Premier Inc. is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of approximately 3,900 U.S. hospitals and health systems and approximately 150,000 other providers and organizations. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit www.premierinc.com for more information.