ACO Resources now available from CMS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicare Learning Network
is offering several resources for providers looking for information on accountable care organizations and the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

Several electronic fact sheets that address topics are now available, including how to participate in an ACO and improve quality of care and information on the advanced payment model for ACOs. New fact sheets are also available detailing final rule provisions for ACOs under the shared savings program and fact sheets provide information on the methodology for determining shared savings and losses under the program.

Anesthesiologists as ACO Leaders

As hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs), and physician providers formulate the transparent partnerships the new rules require to participate in an ACO, it is important to be reminded that anesthesiologists are integral providers to achieve the goals of this new ACO concept. Anesthesiologists have been critical players in the initial assessment and on-going management of patient’s care throughout the perioperative and obstetrical arenas. In addition, Anesthesiology has been a champion for patient safety and has contributed data to the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI), for years.

Recent professional editorials have talked about creating a “surgical home” or an Accountable Anesthesia Organization as concepts where anesthesiologists would lead a team dedicated to the goals of an ACO. A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association addressed the potential mistakes in implementing ACOs, particularly in failing to recognize interdependencies (

It will be interesting to see the CMS response to the final rules for ACOs when they are made available.