Medicare & Accountable Care Organizations

MIAMI (AP) _ A report from the federal government shows a new model of health care is growing and saving money in the taxpayer-funded Medicare program. But while the early data on Accountable Care Organizations shows financial improvements, experts say it’s still too early to gauge their long-term impact.

ACOs are networks of doctors, hospitals and health providers who coordinate care to keep patients out of the hospital unnecessarily. They’ve proliferated as the federal government has shifted from a health care model that rewards the sheer volume of services provided to one that rewards high-quality outcomes.

According to a recent report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 21 so-called Pioneer ACOs and 333 so-called Medicare Shared Shavings Program ACOs generated more than $411 million in savings in 2014. Nearly 100 ACOs also saved enough money to get a piece of more than $422 million.