As of July 1, more than 2.4 million Medicare beneficiaries are receiving care from shared savings ACOs, and almost half of the ACOs are smaller physician-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries, Blum says.
"What is significant is the degree of provider physician interest," Blum explains. "Contrary to some fears that were expressed last year, we have a very strong program that exceeds our goals for the first year. We have over 2.4 million beneficiaries being served by these ACOs and we really see this thing led by the physician community to improve patient care."
Blum says the Medicare Shared Savings Program, part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, by some projections could save the Medicare trust fund up to $940 million over four years. However, he believes it’s too early to tell if the ACOs are already on their way toward the stated goals of saving money and improving care quality.
"Obviously this is going to be a key factor that we track very carefully," Blum says. "We have a very strong interest to ensure that beneficiaries get better services than they do today. We will make this data transparent to the public but it is too early to tell given that the program is still in its early stages."