Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 ACOs have been established, serving over 5.3 million Americans with Original Medicare. The NRACO is a collaboration of nine innovative rural communities in Indiana, Michigan and California that are working together to improve care for rural Medicare beneficiaries.
The goal of the NRACO is to provide high-quality, coordinated care to patients, while helping to slow the growth of health care costs. To improve quality and lower costs, Margaret Mary will implement new programs that improve care coordination, with a special focus on the most vulnerable, high-risk patients. According to Medicare, “The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.”
The NRACO must meet rigorous quality standards to ensure that savings are achieved by improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely.
Margaret Mary will be using health information technology to support care providers by making sure they have the most up-to-date and complete information about patients’ health. Participating in the NRACO helps doctors communicate better with each other, so patients can avoid having duplicate tests or answering the same questions over and over.
Medicare patients still have the right to see any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, at any time, regardless of whether their primary care provider has opted to participate in the NRACO. Medicare patients’ current benefits and the cost of coverage will not change as a result of this program.
Margaret Mary has chosen to participate in the National Rural ACO because it is committed to providing high value to its patients. Medicare patients will be formally notified, either in-person at a provider’s office, or by letter.
If patients have questions about the National Rural ACO, they should contact their healthcare provider or Kim Inscho at 812-933-5209. For general questions about Accountable Care Organizations, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048).