Medicare beneficiaries supportive of ACOs, despite rough start

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Despite a somewhat rocky start, Medicare beneficiaries have been supportive of accountable care organizations, a government official said.

Jonathan Blum, the deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said beneficiaries who are participating in the Pioneer ACO program have been largely supportive of the care coordination program. According to news reports, early Pioneer participants had difficulties accessing critical CMS data, a key component to ACOs' success.

In a presentation at the National Accountable Care Organization Summit last week, Blum said that push back against the program has not been strong, the Bureau of National Affairs reported. Accountable care organizations are coordinated care initiatives in which providers, including as long-term care facilities, are incentivized to work together to find shared savings.

Blum described ACOs as “quasi-managed care” that doesn't “take away any beneficiary rights because patients are still enrolled in a traditional fee-for-service program.” It's up to providers to make sure beneficiaries take advantage of their benefits, he added.

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