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CMS Announces 15 New 'Advance Payment' ACOs

By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

July 19, 2012 -- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved 15 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) under what's known as the advance payment model.

The ACOs, like others already announced and in the works, will function under the shared savings approach. But they get up front and monthly payments so they can finance the cost of the information technology and other improvements needed to coordinate care among providers.

CMS developed the model in response to comments from members of the health care industry who said smaller providers—particularly those in rural areas—didn't have the up front money to launch an ACO and would be disadvantaged.

Providers were invited to apply earlier this year for a new round of the advance payment model ACOs and CMS officials said they were reviewing 150 applications from groups that wanted to enter the program in July.

Each of the advance payment ACOs will receive an up front fixed payment; an up front varying payment based on the number of Medicare beneficiaries it serves; and a monthly payment depending on its number of beneficiaries.

The new ACOs announced were: Accountable Care Partners ACO, Jacksonville, Fla.; Coastal Medical Inc., Providence, R.I.; Cumberland Center for Healthcare Innovation, Nashville, Tenn.; Golden Life Healthcare, Sacramento, Calif.; Harbor Medical Associates, South Weymouth, Mass.; Maryland Accountable Care Organization of Eastern Shore, National Harbor; Maryland Accountable Care Organization of Western Maryland, National Harbor; Medical Mall Services of Jackson, Miss.; MPS ACO Physicians, Middletown, Conn.; Physicians ACO, Houston, Texas; PriMed, Shelton, Conn.; Quality Independent Physicians, Louisville, Ky.; Reliance Healthcare Management Solutions, Tampa, Fla.; St. Thomas Medical Group, Nashville, Tenn.; and Texoma ACO, Wichita Falls, Texas.

CMS officials said they will start accepting applications Aug. 1 for the next round of advance payment ACOs that would begin Jan. 1, 2013.

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