15 Jun HCTTF Joins Coalition Letter Expressing Support for the Accountable Care in Rural America Act
The Task Force joined a coalition letter supporting H.R. 3746, the Accountable Care In Rural America Act, which amends title XVIII of the Social Security Act to improve the benchmarking process for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) to ensure that all ACOs have an equal opportunity to share in savings regardless of their geographic location.
This legislation fixes an important flaw in the current MSSP benchmarking methodology – a flaw that systematically disadvantages many ACOs, including a high proportion of ACOs in rural areas, and making it harder for them to achieve savings even when they improve quality and reduce costs. Today, the regional adjustment includes an ACO’s own beneficiaries in the regional calculation, which often disadvantages ACOs that make up a large share of their market. While this presents a challenge for all ACOs, it often has minimal impact for ACOs in areas with a lot of provider competition. The impact is significant in rural areas where an ACO covers a larger percent of the region’s fee-for-service beneficiaries. No ACO should be placed in a less favorable financial position due to their geography alone, and design flaws that discourage ACOs from operating in rural areas should be eliminated.
Amending the Social Security Act to improve the MSSP benchmarking process and level the playing field for rural ACOs is a critical step to ensuring all providers and patients are able to benefit from this program.