Healthcare leaders have been waiting since March 31 for the final rules governing accountable care organizations to be finalized. And many of them feared the worst, given the provisions in the proposed set of rules.
While the final regulations released last Thursday allow numerous concessions and dangle many carrots to woo providers, many healthcare leaders still have serious concerns. A chief impediment, many say, remains the huge cost and difficulty of setting up an infrastructure to deal with what will still amount to an enormously complex system that they'll be stuck with for three years.
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And, many of them wonder whether the revenue they eventually receive, if an, will justify their considerable investment. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' final ACO document indeed proffers a kinder, gentler, set of requirements and indicates that federal health officials listened to a lot, if not all, of what they were told.
1. Thomas Graf, MD, associate chief medical officer, Population Health; chairman, Community Practice, Geisinger Health System:
"We believe that the leadership at CMS has been incredibly responsive to the many perspectives offered to improve this important initiative. These final rules show a clear interest on the part of the government to work with private systems to reform health care by improving quality and controlling cost.
"While we are still doing our own internal assessment, it is clear that these revised rules have significantly advanced the goals of value re-engineering in healthcare. We look forward to continuing discussions with CMS leadership on the opportunities to participate in this and other initiatives."