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Newsletter Article


CMS Opens Door to More 'Advance Payment' ACOs

By John Reichard, CQ HealthBeat Editor

Buoyed by strong interest from providers, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials will announce a new opportunity for providers to file applications to contract with Medicare as an "advance payment" accountable care organization.

These ACOs get expected savings from team-based care in the form of up-front payments. That helps them pay for adding staff and health information technology needed to get the ACO up and running.

"We will be launching a third group of Advance Payment Model ACOs on January 1, 2013," CMS says in a Register notice scheduled to be published June 26. "We are creating this new opportunity in response to requests from stakeholders and potential partners who requested additional opportunities to partner with CMS as Advance Payment ACOs."

After rocky going early on, the ACO program has gotten off to a surprisingly strong start. The first batch of ACO contracts included five advance payment ACOs. Officials said they are reviewing another 150 applications from ACOs seeking to enter the program in July, and that 50 or so involve advance payments. And now more ACOs will get a crack at advance payments—if the health care law survives.

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