Three More Quit Medicare's Pioneer ACO Program

Mary K. Caffrey

Life for accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare’s Pioneer program appears to be as tough as that on the prairie itself: only the strongest are surviving.

Yesterday, 3 more ACOs exited the program, according to numerous news reports. This morning the web site for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Pioneer program listed only 19 ACOs from the original 32  that were part of the initiative when it launched in 2012.

According to Healthcare Informatics, the 3 to leave this week are The Franciscan Alliance, Genesys PHO, and Renaissance Health Network. In August, Sharp Healthcare, a San Diego-based health system, dropped out.

While some ACOs continue to depart the Pioneer program, last week CMS announced that Pioneer program savings reached $96 million over 2 years. In total, CMS reported that the Pioneer ACO model and Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) have generated more than $372 million in total program savings for Medicare ACOs.

Although the Pioneer program is shrinking, hundreds of ACOs have formed to take part in the MSSP. The ACO and Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition, an initiative of The American Journal of Managed Care, was created to give ACO leaders opportunities to gather in person and in teleconferences and other settings to share ideas on how to navigate new value-based delivery models.

The ACO Coalition will gather October 16-17, 2014, at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay for the first time since the CMS savings data was released. The keynote speaker will be Thomas Graf, MD, chief medical officer for Population Health and Longitudinal Care Service Lines, Geisinger Health System. Other sessions will include:
Those who are interested in attending should email

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