Accountable care organizations (ACOs) offer an innovative way to rethink the delivery of higher quality and more efficient care. Under this model, accountability shifts from health plans and other entities to the practice level, and provider financial incentives are aligned with optimal care delivery. ACOs have received widespread attention in Medicare and the commercial insurance industry and now, several leading-edge Medicaid agencies are also pursuing ACO models for their beneficiaries. Safety-net ACOs offer significant potential for improving care coordination and curbing spending for some of the nation's highest-risk, highest-cost patients.
With support from The Commonwealth Fund, and additional funding from the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute, a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) developed Advancing Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations: A Learning Collaborative to help states collaborate with multiple delivery system stakeholders and advance ACO models to drive improvements in quality, delivery, and payment reform. CHCS worked with Medicaid agencies from Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont to accelerate ACO program design and implementation. The initiative focused on four critical areas:
CHCS produced a variety of tools and resources to share lessons from the collaborative with additional states that are pursuing ACO models (see Related Resources on this page for more information).