DVACO for Healthcare Providers
COVID-19 Public Health Emergency- Telehealth Toolkit
In an effort to provide our practices with information on Medicare’s Telehealth Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, the Delaware Valley ACO (DVACO) has created the DVACO- COVID-19 Public Health Emergency- Telehealth Services Toolkit for you. Click here to see the toolkit. We strongly encourage the use of telehealth for managing patients with chronic disease to minimize potential exposure to our chronically ill population during this time.
Please note that despite the CMS waivers for telehealth that have been enacted, prescribing restrictions still may be in place for narcotic and non-narcotic medications. Please refer to your state’s regulations surrounding prescribing and telehealth visits.
In addition to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency- Telehealth Services Toolkit, COVID-19 Public Health Emergency- Coding, COVID-19 Public Health Emergency- PECOS Updates, and COVID-19 SNF Telehealth Toolkits documents have been created to provide our practices with new and updated information during this time.
Given the fluid and rapidly changing nature of events, we will provide updates to you/revisions to the toolkit as soon as they become available. The DVACO is dedicated to providing our practices education and support regarding telehealth services, coding, and PECOS updates during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Please reach out to Kara McAndrews at firstname.lastname@example.org or your practice transformation coach if you have any questions.
What Does Participating in DVACO Mean for Your Practice?
DVACO’s focus on improving the current care model is supported by two outstanding health systems whose commitment and size when combined is elevated beyond the sum of its parts. DVACO strives to deliver value to all its stakeholders by facilitating a collaborative approach for improving population health outcomes in an economically sustainable structure. DVACO’s initial focus is on primary care because of its critical and necessary foundation for population health. A robust primary care capacity is positively correlated to improving population health outcomes and reducing the cost of care. The focus on primary care is not an end-point but rather the beginning of a population health journey. Since its inception in January of 2014, DVACO has grown from 225 PCPs responsible for 32,000 Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) beneficiaries, to over 2000 physicians, of which over 1/3 are PCPs responsible for over 90,000 Medicare FFS beneficiaries. As the numbers continue to grow, DVACO is investing significantly in Care Coordination and Practice Transformation resources to support participating physicians in their quality improvement and reporting efforts. As a participant in the DVACO you will have the opportunity to attend our semi-annual conferences. Additionally, participants will be provided with data analytics to be used for monitoring and improving the quality and efficiency of their practice operations. With the commitment and dedication of all of our providers, we are hopeful that we will obtain our goal of shared savings before completing the three year MSSP contract. We recognize that by working together we have a tremendous opportunity that extends beyond participation in the MSSP. DVACO currently holds three performance-based contracts with private payers and will likely continue to act as a convener for future risk based contracts. Payers recognize that the size of DVACO and the reputation of our providers and health systems allow us to leverage resources optimally for the benefit of all our participants and beneficiaries (patients).
How Do You Become a Participating Provider?
Please review the “Participation Requirements“, which includes having an Electronic Medical Record that is certified to meet the Promoting Interoperability requirements for the Merit-Based Incentive Program System (MIPS). Also the provider needs to review and agree with the participation criteria and sign a participation agreement. Overall, we strongly suggest a commitment to population health, and being willing to collect and report quality data. If any physicians have any interest in joining the Delaware Valley ACO, please contact Joel Port at email@example.com or call 610-225-6253.
Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2021 Recommendations from The American Diabetes Association.
Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on the Immunization Practices – United States, 2020-21 Influenza Season.
Adult Preventive Health Care Schedule: Recommendations from the UPSTF.
Care Coordination Referral Process
Care Coordination Referral Form
DVACO Secure File Transfer Link
ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATIONS: WHAT PROVIDERS NEED TO KNOW
Shared Savings Goals
- Better care for patients
- Better health for our communities
- Lower Medicare Fee-for-Service costs through improvements for the health care system
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), established the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program) on January 1, 2012, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The Shared Savings Program is a voluntary program designed to provide better care for patients, better health for our communities, and lower costs through improvements in the health care system. Specifically, the program allows doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to better coordinate care for Medicare patients through Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Participation in an ACO creates incentives for health care providers to work together to treat an individual patient across care settings—including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. The Shared Savings Program will financially reward ACOs that lower their growth in health care costs while meeting performance standards on quality of care and putting patients first. Provider participation in an ACO is purely voluntary.
CMS issued regulations implementing the Shared Savings Program in November 2011. Those regulations were revised in a final rule issued in June 2015. In developing the program regulations, CMS worked closely with agencies across the Federal government to ensure a coordinated and aligned inter- and intra-agency effort to facilitate implementation of the Shared Savings Program.
CMS encourages all interested providers and suppliers to review the program regulations and consider participating in the Shared Savings Program.
This fact sheet provides an overview of Medicare ACOs.
FAQs for Providers
Click any of the questions below to reveal the answer.
Q: What Is an ACO?
Q: Who Can Form an ACO?
- ACO professionals (i.e., physicians and certain non-physician practitioners) in group practice arrangements;
- Networks of individual practices of ACO professionals;
- Partnerships or joint ventures arrangements between hospitals and ACO professionals;
- Hospitals employing ACO professionals;
- Certain critical access hospitals;
- Federally qualified health centers, and;
- Rural health clinics.
Any Medicare-enrolled provider or supplier may join an ACO formed by the entities identified above. Any Medicare provider or supplier in good standing is encouraged to participate in an ACO since all health care providers are important for the ACO to achieve its goal of better coordinating care. However, providers and suppliers who are already participating in another program or initiative involving shared savings under Fee-For-Service Medicare are not eligible to participate in a Shared Savings Program ACO.
If an ACO is formed by more than one provider or supplier, the ACO must be a legal entity separate from the providers or suppliers that formed it. An ACO formed by a single Medicare provider or supplier need not form a separate legal entity to participate in the Shared Savings Program as an ACO, as long as it satisfies the same organization and governance requirements applicable to all ACOs.
Q: How Can Providers Participate?
The statute and program regulations specify the eligibility and program requirements. For example, each ACO is required to establish a governing body that includes a Medicare beneficiary and provides ACO participants with meaningful participation in ACO governance. In addition, the ACO is responsible for developing processes to promote evidence-based medicine, promote patient engagement, internally report on quality and cost measures, and coordinate care. The ACO is responsible for maintaining a patient-centered focus.
Q: How Are ACOs Paid?
Q: What Are the Risk Sharing Options?
Q: How Are Shared Savings and Losses Calculated?
CMS also establishes an MSR and an MLR to account for normal variations in health care spending. The MSR is a percentage of the benchmark that ACO savings must meet or exceed in order for an ACO to qualify for shared savings in any given year. Similarly, an ACO with expenditures at or above the MLR is accountable for repaying shared losses. Under the program regulations, ACOs in the one-sided model that have smaller populations (and thus more variation in expenditures) will have a larger MSR and ACOs with larger populations (and thus less variation in expenditures) have a smaller MSR. Under the two-sided models, ACOs have a choice between a symmetrical MSR/MLR from 0.0 percent to 2.0 percent in increments of 0.5 percent, or an MSR/MLR that varies based upon the number of beneficiaries assigned to the ACO (determined using the same methodology as used to determine the MSR under the one-sided model).
Under the one-sided and two-sided models, if an ACO meets the quality performance standards and achieves savings that meet or exceed the MSR, the ACO shares in savings, based on the quality score of the ACO. ACOs share in all savings, not just the amount of savings that exceeds the MSR, up to a performance payment limit. Similarly, ACOs with expenditures meeting or exceeding the MLR share in all losses, up to a loss sharing limit.
Q: How Do Shared Savings and Shared Losses Vary Among the Three Risk Tracks?
The program regulations also provide the methodology for determining shared losses for ACOs in a two-sided model if the per capita costs for the ACO’s assigned beneficiary population are above its updated benchmark by an amount equal to or greater than its MLR. As with shared savings, the amount of shared losses is based in part on the ACO’s quality performance score. While CMS caps the ACO’s loss sharing rate at 60 percent for Track 2 ACOs and 75 percent for Track 3 ACOs, quality performance cannot reduce the loss sharing rate below 40 percent of the ACO’s updated benchmark under the two-sided models. CMS also limits the total amount of losses owed through loss sharing limits. Under Track 2, the loss sharing limit is 5 percent of the updated benchmark in the first performance year under Track 2, 7.5 percent in the second performance year, and 10 percent in the third performance year or any subsequent performance year. Under Track 3, the loss sharing limit is 15 percent of the ACO’s updated benchmark in each performance year.
Q: How Does Beneficiary Assignment Vary Among the Three Risk Tracks?
Q: How Does an ACO Satisfy the Quality Performance Standards?
Q: How Are the Quality Performance Standards and Reporting Aligned with Other CMS Quality Initiatives?
Q: How Do ACOs Help Doctors Coordinate Care?
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