Legislation Aims for More ACO Flexibility

Proposed legislation introduced in the U.S. House calls for Medicare to pilot a reimbursement mechanism for accountable care organizations based on outcomes and encourages ACO use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), a registered nurse for 40 years, sponsors The ACO Improvement Act (H.R. 5558) along with Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). Both serve on powerful committees--Black on Ways & Means and Welch on Energy & Commerce.

The legislation would lift certain limitations on use of telehealth services including store-and-forward technology as well as home-based remote monitoring and video conferencing services, reimbursed “in a manner that is financially equivalent to the furnishing of a home health visit,” according to the bill. ACOs also would be permitted to reduce or eliminate cost-sharing that otherwise would be applicable under Medicare Part B and to develop other incentive programs to enhance patient engagement, with the costs of incentives borne by the ACO.

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