The CMS made a profit from the Medicare Shared Savings Program last year as more accountable care organizations moved to risk-based contracts and gained experience, new federal data show.
About 60% of the 472 Medicare ACOs generated a total of $1.1 billion in savings in 2017, according to the CMS data set released Thursday. The CMS shared $780 million in savings with the ACOs, but the agency still scored a $313.7 million gain from the program.
The substantial savings comes just weeks after the CMS proposed overhauling the program, claiming it wasn’t generating enough savings. The CMS has argued that ACOs aren’t moving quickly enough to risk-based contracts, which is costing Medicare money. The agency lost $39 million to the program in 2016 because it had to pay out more in bonuses than the ACOs generated in savings. At that time, 95% of ACOs remained in Track 1, which doesn’t require the providers to take on any downside risk, so they aren’t on the hook for penalties if they miss their targets.