Senators Urge Obama Administration to Rewrite ACOs Rule

Seven Republican senators sent a letter Tuesday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requesting the current proposed rule on Accountable Care Organizations to be withdrawn and replaced by a “new rule that fulfills the promise of ACOs.”

Citing recent concerns raised by several national healthcare providers and associations—including the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and American Hospital Association (AHA)—the senators argued that the current proposed rule is unclear and that “incentives and accountability are misaligned.” The letter also highlighted a report released by the AHA last week estimating ACO start-up costs for hospitals to be more than 10 times the amount estimated by CMS.

“An ACO model that can increase provider coordination and patient accountability would be a step in the right direction compared with today’s fragmented delivery system,” the senators wrote. “However, it is increasingly clear this proposed rule misses the target.”

The letter was signed by Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, John Cornyn of Texas, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

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