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Most Pioneer ACOs improved Quality Yet Less than Half Lowered Costs

Jul 25, 2013

Of the 32 accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Pioneer program, only 13 achieved enough savings….

The aggressive program is designed to improved patient care and patient satisfaction against benchmarks. The Pioneer ACOs also have the most to gain in shared savings with the government. It appears from preliminary information that almost all of them met the benchmarks and improved quality of care, however only 13 achieved enough savings that they qualified to share some of that money. In fact two of the ACO’s spent more than they were allotted and so they will have to pay the government 4 million dollars.

The challenge of assuming financial risk for achieving the targets has prompted several of the participants to resign as a pioneer and enter more flexible ACO contracts in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

Phoenix-based Banner Health was one of the Pioneers that’s staying in the program and is reporting impressive results for the first year — the contract started Jan. 1, 2012.

"Our ability to deliver shared savings, in excess of $13 million, has been the result of more coordinated care by our providers, advanced population health technology and surrounding our most vulnerable and chronically ill beneficiaries with supportive case management," Tricia Nguyen, chief medical officer for the ACO, called Banner Health Network, said in a news release.

Banner Health Network