CMS Changes ACO Rules

After much criticism over the draft regulations on ACOs, CMS decided to change some items in the final rule that was issued last week. Some of the key areas that received complaints involved rewards, risk, quality measures, start-up costs, and identifying patients. CMS responded by changing the regulations in these areas.
Rewards: ACOs may now share savings earned from the start.
Risk: There is now no risk of financial penalties in one of two payment options.
Quality Measures: The number of measures has been reduced from 65 to 33.
Start-up Costs: Physician-owned and critical-access hospital ACOs can now get bonuses upfront.
Identifying Patients: CMS has decided to notify ACOs upfront (vice after the fact).

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