The Trump administration is beefing up an Obama-era program aimed at cutting costs and improving the quality of treatment in the $670 billion Medicare system.
U.S. health officials will push doctors and hospitals to take on more responsibility for Medicare patients by requiring them to take on financial risk more quickly in the Shared Savings Program, under rules proposed on Thursday.
Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said results from the program have been mixed, and that the new rules are designed to generate more financial savings. While the participants, known as accountable care organizations, or ACOs, have improved the quality of care, they’ve failed to generate savings for the government, Verma said. The new proposal could save $2.2 billion over the next decade.
(Related: CMS Ices Reinsurers Out of an ACO Program)
“We hope that we’re going to attract providers that are serious about delivering high-quality care and cost-effective care,” Verma said in a briefing ahead of the publication of the proposed rule change.
A copy of the proposed rule is available here.
Under the ACO system, doctors and hospitals get financial bonuses if they spend less money on caring for patients, taking on what’s called upside risk. In some cases, they can also be slapped with financial penalties for cost overruns.