Federal health officials said Thursday that Medicare saved hundreds of millions of dollars last year as a result of doctors and hospitals working together through new, innovative Accountable Care Organizations.
The organizations, known as ACOs, are groups of providers seeking to reduce overall healthcare costs and improve care by tying their payments to certain quality measures. Experts broadly see ACOs as a promising way to curb the country's dramatic rise in healthcare costs while giving patients better, more coordinated care.
Through using ACOs, the federal government was able to save $466 million in Medicare costs in 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. The agency said Medicare has saved more than $1.29 billion since 2012.
"The coordinated, physician-led care provided by Accountable Care Organizations resulted in better care for over 7.7 million Medicare beneficiaries while also reducing costs," CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said. "I congratulate these leaders and look forward to significant growth in the program in the coming year."
Doctors and hospitals in ACOs are rated on a number of measures, including how highly patients rate them, how well clinicians communicate, whether patients are screened for high blood pressure and how they use electronic health records.