Pioneer ACO Deadline Extended

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , June 10, 2011

So-called 'Pioneer' accountable care organizations, healthcare systems already providing coordinated care and seeking a fast track to participate in the shared savings program, now have more time to apply for program participation.

Citing the "suggestions of the stakeholder community," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the deadline extension this week.

The deadline to submit a letter of intent to participate in the Pioneer ACO program is now June 30, 2011. Applications must be postmarked on or before August 19. Any provider interested in the program must first submit a letter of intent. No application will be accepted from a potential participant unless an LOI is on file. The LOIs and applications will not be publically released.

Despite the application extensions, CMS still hopes to implement Pioneer ACOs in the third or fourth quarter of 2011. About 30 applicants will be selected.

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CMS is tight-lipped about industry interest in the Pioneer ACO program. In a telephone interview, spokesperson, Ellen B. Griffith, would say only that CMS is "is very pleased with the level of interest in the Pioneer ACO model and with the number of letters of intent we have already received."

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