Accountable care organizations have not done enough to reduce Medicare program spending, a new analysis from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission indicates.
The networks of coordinated caregivers share risks, and any cost savings they incur. They do not appear to “have had any significant effect on referral patterns after hospitalization,” observed MedPAC senior analyst Evan Christman at a commission meeting Friday.
A slight decline in post-acute care usage was noted but “the magnitude of the decline was small and does not suggest that ACOs are aggressively curbing PAC use or moving patients to less costly PAC sites when feasible,” Christman said in a Bloomberg report.
The new MedPAC analysis found that spending growth for ACO beneficiaries was 2.2% lower than non-beneficiaries from 2012-2016. But most of that was due to lower growth in high-acuity short-term hospitalizations, not more traditional skilled nursing or nursing home care, study authors said.
Commissioners are expected to examine the data further and discuss it at meetings leading up to the issuance of a final report to Congress in March.