Medical Clinic of North Texas (MCNT), an affiliate of USMD Holdings, Inc. , ( NASDAQ: USMD), has been selected as one of 123 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in Medicare, providing approximately 1.5 million more Medicare beneficiaries with access to high-quality, coordinated care across the United States, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today.
Doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers establish ACOs in order to work together to provide higher-quality, coordinated care to their patients, while helping to slow health care cost growth. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 ACOs have been established, serving over 5.3 million Americans with Medicare. Beneficiaries seeing healthcare providers in ACOs always have the freedom to choose doctors inside or outside of the ACO. ACOs share with Medicare any savings generated from lowering the growth in health care costs when they meet standards for high-quality care.
“Accountable Care Organizations are delivering higher-quality care to Medicare beneficiaries and are using Medicare dollars more efficiently,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This is a great example of the Affordable Care Act rewarding hospitals and doctors that work together to help our beneficiaries get the best possible care.”
The ACOs must meet quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe and timely. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) evaluates ACO quality performance using 33 quality measures on patient and caregiver experience of care, care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, and improved care for at-risk populations.The new ACOs include a diverse cross-section of healthcare providers across the country, including providers delivering care in underserved areas. More than half of all ACOs are physician-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries. Approximately one in five ACOs include community health centers, rural health clinics, and critical access hospitals that serve low-income and rural communities.