HHS releases ACO regs

By Diana Manos
07:32 AM
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The Department of Health and Human Services has released regulations today on accountable care organizations (ACOs). The rules will guide provider organizations in setting up exchanges of healthcare data to improve care and reduce costs, as mandated under the Accountable Care Act.

The new regs can be found here.

"The industry is certainly anxiously awaiting this rule, as it is the most hyped since meaningful use, but could very well begin the redefinition of our nation's healthcare system," said Justin Barnes, vice president of marketing, corporate and government affairs at Greenway Medical.

HHS will host a call today about the new regulations.

Accountable care organizations are pivotal to the federal government's plan to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality. Some providers, such as Intermountain Health in Utah, have been using an approach that's something similar to ACOs for years. Collaborations between doctors and other providers make care more uniform, based on the best outcomes. Often, this care is also the most cost-effective. Some have called ACOs the HMOs of today.

Wednesday afternoon, CMS Administrator Donald Berwick and other federal officials hosted a pre-regulation release call on the pending ACO rule. According to Barnes, who was on the call, Berwick said that ACOs will not simply be the status quo repackaged -- and that this will not be a one-size-fits-all approach.

According to Barnes, Berwick said the rule would put patients and families at the center of care, make ACOs particularly sensitive to care transitions and promote innovative care.