We have descrived in prior posts the opportunities available through Accountable Care Organizations.   ACOs are intended to provide physicians and medical centers financial incentives to continue offering high-quality medical services to their Medicare patients while keeping costs at an acceptable level through a variety of mechanisms that reward providers for keeping their patient population healthy.  It remains to be seen how successful the model will be, and there is much speculation about the most effective long-term structures for ACOs (including the participants to be included in an ACO model).

It is critical that providers considering an ACO understand and adhere to the final Medicare Shared Savings Program regulations released by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  In the final rule published this November, CMS reconsidered many of its core positions set forth in the proposed regulations issued earlier in March 2011, with the goal of reducing burdens and costs for participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

Several of our McGuireWoods colleagues have jointly authored a series discussing the opportunities and parameters for ACOs.  Most recently, the series discussed the final ACO rule changes as they relate to the governance of an ACO.  A link to the series is available here