What We’re Reading: Medicare ACO Participation; Lunar New Year Travel and COVID-19; Nursing Homes Under Scrutiny

CMS released accountable care organization (ACO) 2023 data; Chinese Lunar New Year travel threatens a COVID-19 toll in China; nursing homes to be audited for inappropriate antipsychotic drug usage.

CMS Touts Participation in ACO Models for 2023

CMS released participation data for its 3 accountable care organization (ACO) initiatives. More than 700,000 health care providers and organizations will participate in either of the 3 programs: Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), ACO REACH, and the Kidney Care Choices (KCC) model. The KCC model will have more than 8398 participating health care providers and organizations and 249,983 beneficiaries in 2023, an 87% increase in the number of providers and organizations, a 62% increase in the number of beneficiaries from 2022. In a separate statement, the National Association of ACOS (NAACOS) noted that there are 456 ACOs in the MSSP and 13 million Medicare beneficiaries in ACO Reach.

Upcoming Lunar Year Holiday Threatens a COVID Toll in China

This week, millions of people in China will face the issue of whether to travel for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, renowned as the largest annual migration for family celebrations, according to TIME. Chinese officials said this weekend that nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died between December 8 and January 12 following the dismantling of social restrictions. However, that figure is believed to be an extreme undercount due to strict reporting criteria and images seen on social media of overcrowded hospitals, overflowing morgues, and long lines outside of crematoriums and funeral parlors.

CMS to Crack Down on Use of Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes

The Biden administration said Wednesday it would begin to audit nursing homes on whether patients are correctly diagnosed with schizophrenia and if they are being prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs unecessarily. In addition, CMS said it would post publicly nursing home citations that are being disputed on its Nursing Home Compare website. Last year, The Hill reported, a government report found that efforts to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications resulted in an increase in antiseizure drugs instead.

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