Supporters of new legislation in the Senate say would help rural health care providers deliver high-quality care.
Kansas Republican Pat Roberts and Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, authors of the legislation, said the Rural ACO Improvement Act would fix a glitch in the program. According to the lawmakers, the proposal would change the accountable care organizations, or ACO, reimbursement formula which inadvertently punishes rural health care providers when they reduce costs.
The bill would put rural providers on a level playing field with their urban counterparts and ensure that all providers are rewarded equally for their work to deliver value in health care. ACOs are made up of groups of health care providers that share responsibility for providing coordinated care to patients to improve health care quality and reduce unnecessary spending. When ACO providers work together to improve care and lower costs below what Medicare expected to spend, Medicare saves money. The health care providers in ACOs are then able to receive a share of those savings.
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