The performance of Medicare Accountable Care Organizations has been mixed. When ACOs were first launched, the goal was to save costs and improve quality, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offering two models with two distinct levels of risk. Now, data shows that while cost savings do, in fact, occur under both models, quality decreases.
Dr. Indrahil Bardhan, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, came to that determination after poring over publicly available CMS data, with a focus on the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) – the oldest and largest ACO program, which began during the early days of the Affordable Care Act.
At the HIMSS conference in Orlando, Bardhan explained during his session, “Do Accountable Care Organizations Create Value? Hype or Hope,” that when ACO programs initially debuted, federal agencies established two tracks: one with only upside risk, and one with both upside and downside risk.