medicare shared savingsAs part of ongoing healthcare reform the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are currently exploring a number of different healthcare delivery models which promise to increase quality of care while decreasing cost.  In this post we will explore the question: What is the Medicare Shared Savings Program?

What is the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP)?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has established a MSSP to facilitate coordination and cooperation among providers to improve the quality of care for Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries and reduce unnecessary costs.  Eligible providers, hospitals, and suppliers may participate in the Shared Savings Program by creating or participating in an Accountable Care Organization.

Improving Outcomes and Increasing Value of Care

The MSSP aims to improve the outcomes of beneficiaries and increase the value of care by:

  • promoting accountability for the care of Medicare FFS beneficiaries
  • Requiring coordinated care for all services provided under Medicare FFS
  • Encouraging investment in infrastructure and redesigned care processes

Within this program, which is part of the Affordable Care Act,  Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will have the ability to enter into agreements with CMS, taking responsibility for the quality of care furnished to people with Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized though improved care.

Full information on the MSSP can be found here: Medicare Shared Savings Program

Understanding Accountable Care Organizations

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of physicians and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to provide coordinated care to treatment across a variety of settings.  ACOs aim at providing cost efficient care, and any cost savings generated by the ACO is shared between Medicare and the ACO.  It is estimated that ACOs currently care for more than 2 million patients in the US, and 106 new ACOs have joined the Medicare Shared Savings Program since Jan. 2013.