20 Notable Aspects of the Final ACO Rule
On October 20, 2011, CMS released the much awaited final rule for implementation of the Medicare Shared Savings Program for providers and suppliers participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The following are 20 notable aspects of the final rule:
•1. While the proposed rule would have required all ACOs to share risk of loss in the final year of the three year participation period, the final rule created an alternative for a “shared savings only” track (one-sided model) that will not require any sharing of losses. The final rule also retains the proposed two-sided model that will allow ACOs to share in an increased portion of savings, so long as the ACO also agrees to share in any losses to the program.
•2. The final rule will allow ACOs beginning in April 1, 2012 or July 1, 2012 to have a longer first performance year (21 months or 18 months respectively) and an option to receive an interim payment calculation following the first 12 months of participation. One-sided ACOs receiving an interim payment will be required to demonstrate a self-executing repayment mechanism similar to that which the two-sided ACOs must demonstrate.