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When changes are made to government regulations, they have far-reaching effects. This is the case for proposed changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, as they’ll impact ACOs in more ways than one if they’re enacted. To get up to speed, here’s an overview of what some of these proposals are and how they’ll benefit patients.

What Is an ACO?

Before we discuss the proposed changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program, let’s take a moment to review ACOs. ACO stands for accountable care organization and is made up of care providers, doctors, and hospitals. These groups work together with a common goal of providing the highest quality care possible for their medicare patients while also lowering healthcare costs. 

How do ACOs accomplish their missions? Through collaboration! By coordinating care and sharing information about their patients, ACOs are able to provide Medicare patients with the treatment they need at the appropriate time, avoiding errors as much as possible. Doing so helps providers keep their patients healthy while also saving money in the long run. 

Beyond just receiving better care, the ACO helps out Medicare beneficiaries in many other ways. For example, they won’t need to spend time filling out lots of forms and paperwork when their medical information has been shared amongst the members of their ACO.

What Are the Changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program?

Now that you’re caught up with ACOs, you’re probably wondering how they’ll be affected by the potential changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The proposed reforms made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are more influential than ever before and would lead to $650 million in increased ACO shared saving payments. 

As you can imagine, that’s a large sum of money. So what’s it all going to be used for? The purpose of the new propositions is to promote equity in the industry by making ACO services more accessible and fair for all patients. For example, the CMS proposes that practitioners be allowed to provide substance abuse and mental health care with a mobile unit, extending their reach to rural places that would otherwise be too far away. Given how understaffed those regions can be, removing barriers to their healthcare access is critical. 

But how do the Medicare Shared Saving Program changes alter the ACO? The CMS wants to actively reward ACOs that provide professional care to underserved populations. But that’s not all. They’ve also proposed the implementation of shared saving payments to new ACOs that can be used to assist their beneficiaries’ social needs. This opens up new opportunities for care providers in rural areas to make the necessary investments to form an ACO. If the propositions are passed, they will make ACO shared saving services more accessible for rural communities.

Contact MedTrainer Today

Is your healthcare facility a part of an ACO and looking for ways to streamline administrative processes? MedTrainer offers an all-in-one software solution to make managing hospitals easier than ever. From healthcare compliance software to exclusion screening software, we have the resources your organization needs for continued success. Contact us today to schedule a demo!