FutureFocus January 10, 2018 ACO Savings Not Related To Reduced Hospitalizations

Lisa Remington

In this week’s FutureFocus, we look at an interesting fact about MSSP ACOs and the relationship to hospitalizations. A Harvard study finds ACO preventable hospital admissions didn't decrease, but instead rose. In another article, we look at readmission penalties. Since the onset of the Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP), penalties have continued to rise. The analysis compares FY 2013-2017. In our Washington Report, we examine the Medicare Extenders Package and the impact to post-acute providers.

Lisa Remington, President, Remington Health Strategy Group

Researchers at Harvard Medical School, found hospitalizations overall didn't decline for patients in the Medicare Shared Savings program over a three-year period. In 2012, hospitalizations among ACO patients dropped by 1.6%, but in 2013 hospitalizations fell only by 0.7% and in 2014 hospitalizations actually rose by 0.3%. The study found preventable hospital admissions didn't decrease from 2012 to 2013, and actually rose in 2014. 

Readmissions penalties still continue to grow.

On the agenda for Congress in its second session--unfinished business from 2017--is passage of legislation popularly known as the Medicare Extenders Package, affecting policies that expire unless Congress acts. Most were last extended in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015. Congress failed to act at the end of 2017, mainly because enacting tax reform legislation became its overriding priority.