Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program) ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who collaborate to give coordinated high-quality care to people with Medicare, focusing on delivering the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary services and medical errors. When an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, the ACO may be eligible to share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program (also known as performance payments).
Shared Savings Program
The Shared Savings Program offers providers and suppliers (e.g., physicians, hospitals, and others involved in patient care) an opportunity to create an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). An ACO agrees to be held accountable for the quality, cost, and experience of care of an assigned Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiary population. The Shared Savings Program has different participation options (tracks) that allow ACOs to select an arrangement that makes the most sense for their organization.
The Shared Savings Program is an important innovation for moving the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') payment system away from volume and toward value and outcomes. It is an alternative payment model that:
- Promotes accountability for a patient population.
- Coordinates items and services for Medicare FFS beneficiaries.
- Encourages investment in high quality and efficient services.
Accountable Care Organizations
The Shared Savings Program is a voluntary program that encourages groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to come together as an ACO to give coordinated, high-quality care to their Medicare beneficiaries.
To learn more about becoming an ACO, visit the Application Types and Timelines webpage.
To learn more about the number and geographic location of Shared Savings Program ACOs, reference Program Data.
ACO Providers and Suppliers
Eligible ACO providers and suppliers that may participate in the Shared Savings Program include:
- ACO professionals in group practice arrangements
- Networks of individual practices of ACO professionals
- Partnerships or joint venture arrangements between hospitals and ACO professionals
- Hospitals employing ACO professionals
- Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) that bill under Method II
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
- Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
- Teaching hospitals that have elected to receive payment on a reasonable cost basis for the direct medical and surgical services of their physicians
CMS makes data on Shared Savings Program ACOs publicly available through several resources, including Data.CMS.gov. On this page, find more information related to Shared Savings Program ACO participation and performance.
CMS ACO Learning System
Since 2012, CMS has supported ACOs in their efforts to improve the delivery of care for their assigned beneficiary populations through model-specific learning systems. These learning systems provide ACOs with a forum in which they can collaborate with and learn from one another. Visit the CMS Innovation Center ACOs webpage for the most current Toolkits and Case Studies.
Frequently Asked Questions
For more information about the program, refer to our frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Medicare FFS FAQs page.