A More Complete Picture of Pioneer ACO Results

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released more detailed ACO-level data for participants in first two years of the Pioneer ACO Model. The program, which is designed for health systems with more experience assuming financial risk for patient populations, has generated savings and improvements in quality measures, but has also struggled to retain participants. The program began with 32 provider organizations; following a series of recent announcements there are now 19 total participants.

Last month, CMS announced that the Pioneer Program was able to yield total program savings of $96 million in its second year and resulted in ACOs sharing in savings of $68 million. CMS also reported that the Pioneers were able to improve mean quality scores by 19 percent and increased performance on 28 of 33 measures between performance year one and performance year two.

Financial Results

The latest financial results provide more participant-level data and allow for a new level of analysis of performance across all these ACOs. In year one of the program, financial performance for individual Pioneers ranged from a gross loss of $9.31 million to a gross savings of $23.34 million. Thirteen Pioneers reduced costs enough to qualify for shared savings, with an average of $5.85 million returned to the ACOs, ranging from $1.00 million to $14.00 million. One ACO owed shared losses of $2.55 million. The remaining eighteen ACOs were within the minimum savings or loss rate and did not earn shared savings or owe money to Medicare due to losses.

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