Researchers recently sought to better understand how Accountable Care Organization (ACO) participation impacts spending in rural and underserved areas. According to the study results, which are published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, Medicare spending was lower among providers serving in rural and underserved areas who also participated in ACO shared savings contracts.
“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the [ACO] Investment Model (AIM) to encourage the growth of Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs in rural and underserved areas,” explained lead study author Matthew Trombley, PhD, Abt Associates, and colleagues. “AIM provides financial support to eligible MSSP ACOs by means of prepayment of shared savings. Estimation of the performance of AIM ACOs on measures of spending and utilization in their first performance year would be useful for understanding the viability of ACOs located in these areas.”