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NAACOS Joins CMS in Welcoming 525 ACOs in 2017! 

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2017—Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that 525 Accountable Care Organization (ACOs) will participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and Next Generation ACO Models in 2017. Of the MSSP ACOs, 99 are new ACOs and 79 are renewing ACOs. The majority of ACOs will continue under the MSSP with 45 ACOs participating in the Next Generation ACO (NGACO) Model. The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) believes that these numbers demonstrate encouraging growth for a vital program that is committed to improving quality of care while reducing unnecessary costs. 

“ACOs play an increasingly critical role in improving our nation’s healthcare system,” said Clif Gaus, CEO and President of NAACOS. “ACOs demonstrate a commitment to achieving a healthier population and moving healthcare delivery from volume of services to value for patients, while keeping quality, cost, wellness, and outcomes as front and center goals. We’re pleased to welcome the new and renewing ACOs.” 

In addition to more ACOs joining the program in 2017, the class also represents a larger number of Medicare beneficiaries, demonstrating growth both in the ACO program and within individual ACOs. When the MSSP began in 2012, the ACOs collectively represented around two million Medicare beneficiaries who were a part of 114 ACOs. In 2017, there is a significant jump with over 10 million beneficiaries who are part of Medicare ACOs. Medicare Advantage was the first value-based program; however, by comparison the ACO program has already achieved half the size of Medicare Advantage's beneficiary numbers in roughly a third of the time of their respective launches. NAACOS congratulates ACOs in this growth, especially during a time period of frequent policy changes designed to improve the program. 

While the 2017 class shows growth in participation in two-sided ACOs models, with a total of 42 MSSP ACOs in Tracks 2 and 3 and 45 ACOs in the NGACO Model, the overall uptake of two-sided ACO models remains low. Gaus notes, “Only ten percent of MSSP ACOs and 15 percent of Medicare ACOs overall (including MSSP and Next Generation ACOs) are participating in two-sided risk models, illustrating that the vast majority of ACOs remain in the one-sided Track 1 model. This imbalance underscores the need for CMS to continue its important work implementing Track 1+, and we encourage the agency to do so in a manner that makes Track 1+ broadly available to all types of ACOs.” 

“We, along with the ACO community, are feeling confident about the future of the program and we’re looking forwarding to seeing the ACO program grow and stabilize in the coming years,” said Clif Gaus. NAACOS closely monitors and advocates for sustainable policy and programmatic changes to the ACO models and will work closely with the new administration, current ACOs, and those new to the program in 2017.

About NAACOS. The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) is the largest association of Medicare ACOs, and serves over 3.3 million beneficiary lives. Over 215 MSSP, Next Generation, Pioneer and commercial ACOs comprise NAACOS membership. NAACOS is an ACO member-led and member-owned non-profit organization that works on behalf of ACOs across the nation to improve the quality of Medicare delivery, population health and outcomes, and healthcare cost and efficiency.