New ACO group pursues uniformity

Officials at the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) announced Feb. 8 the formation of a non-profit organization that allows accountable care organizations to work together to increase quality of care, lower costs and improve the health of their communities.

Out of the 258 ACOs recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 60 of them, across more than 15 states, have joined together to form the NAACOS.

"It is phenomenal that this many ACOs could come together in a matter of eight weeks to form such an important organization," said Clif Gaus, president of NAACOS, in a press release accompanying the announcement.

According to officials, organization members will focus their efforts on promoting industry-wide uniformity on quality performance measures, engaging with the vendor community, providing peer-to-peer learning experiences and emphasizing best practices.

Officials anticipate membership to exceed 100 ACOs by April, representing more than 2 million Medicare assigned beneficiaries.

"While rapid, this is a natural evolution of what was an informal network of ACO executives recognizing the need for the ACO industry to have its voice clearly and consistently at the table as regulations and program rules are developed by CMS and the states," said Mike Barrett, chair of NAACOS, in a statement. "Equally important is providing a forum for a peer-to-peer exchange of effective and efficient solutions to the myriad of operational challenges."

ACOs in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C., are among the members already participating.