The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a press release announcing an increase in three accountable care initiatives that will grow and provide higher quality care to more than 13.1 million people with Medicare in 2023. The initiatives include:
- Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program)
- Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (ACO REACH) Model
- Kidney Care Choices (KCC) Model
The Shared Savings Program is the largest accountable care initiative in the country and is a permanent program in Medicare that was established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Shared Savings Program has 456 ACOs and 10.9 million assigned beneficiaries in 2023. While the Shared Savings Program experienced a decrease in the number of ACOs and assigned beneficiaries for 2023, the policies finalized in the calendar year (CY) 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule are expected to grow participation in the program for 2024 and beyond, when many of the new policies are set to go into effect. These policies are expected to drive growth in participation, particularly in rural and underserved areas, promote equity, and advance alignment across the accountable care initiatives, and increase the number of beneficiaries assigned to ACOs participating in the program by up to four million over the next several years.
The ACO REACH Model aims to improve the quality of care for people with Traditional Medicare through better care coordination and by increasing access to accountable care in underserved communities. Innovative features the Model will test include benchmark adjustments to shift payments to better support care for the underserved and enhanced Medicare benefits, including care in the home. In 2023, ACO REACH will increase access to accountable care in underserved populations. The ACO REACH Model will have 824 Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, and Critical Access Hospitals participating in 2023 — more than twice the number in 2022. Increasing the number and reach of ACOs in underserved communities will help close racial and ethnic disparities that have been identified among people with Traditional Medicare in accountable care relationships.
The KCC Model focuses on coordinating care for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic kidney disease stages 4 and 5 and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). In addition to care coordination, the KCC Model focuses on key areas of concern for this population, including delaying the onset of dialysis and increasing access to kidney transplantation so more patients can live fuller and longer lives.