The following health reform updates were provided by the Health Industry Distributors Association. Visit www.hida.org for more.
Organizations to form Pioneer ACOs
Thirty-two healthcare organizations have been selected to participate in Medicare’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, which launched on Jan. 1, 2012. The health reform law established new coordinated care partnership agreements that can share savings with Medicare as long as certain quality standards are met. The hospitals, physician groups, and other providers participating in the Pioneer program will manage the care of 860,000 seniors. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that Pioneer ACOs could save up to $1.1 billion over five years, and will be seen as models for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs that will be forming in 2012. For more information on ACOs, visit www.HIDA.org/reform.
Medicare physician payment cut delayed until March 2012
In December 2011, President Obama signed legislation that will delay a 27.4 percent cut to Medicare physician payments for two months, until March 1, 2012. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are expected to appoint members to a conference committee in order to produce a two-year fix to avoid potential cuts. Medicare physician reimbursement is tied to a sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which enacts significant Medicare cuts unless Congress intervenes. The American Medical Association is encouraging Congress to address the “sorry cycle of scheduled cuts and short-term patches” and approve a long-term solution.