Partners HealthCare - CMS Pioneer ACO

Program Location: 
Boston, MA
Payer Type: 
Parent Program: 

Reported Outcomes


Partners HealthCare was selected to participate in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model in December of 2011.  The initiative, sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center, aims to transform the way that health care is delivered by providing Medicare patients with higher quality, while slowing cost growth through enhanced care coordination. The Pioneer ACO Model is designed to encourage the development of accountable care organizations, which are groups of doctors and other health care providers who work together to provide high quality care for their patients. Partners was chosen specifically as one in a diverse group of leading-edge health care organizations from around the country to test the effectiveness of several new models of payment.

Under the Pioneer ACO Model, CMS will provide incentives for participating health care providers who form an organization to coordinate care for patients. Providers who band together through this model will be required to meet quality standards based upon, among other measures, patient outcomes and care coordination among the provider team. 

Payment Model: 

The payment models being tested in the first two years of the Pioneer ACO Model are a shared savings payment policy with generally higher levels of shared savings and risk for Pioneer ACOs than levels currently proposed in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. In year three of the program, participating ACOs that have shown a specified level of savings over the first two years will be eligible to move a substantial portion of their payments to a population-based model. These models of payments will also be flexible to accommodate the specific organizational and market conditions in which Pioneer ACOs work.

Cost Savings: 

During the first year of the initiative:

  • Partners HealthCare was successful in slowing the rate of cost growth by approximately 3% as compared with the reference trend that Medicare used to measure Partners’ performance
  • This translates into approximately $14.4 million in shared savings that Partners will receive from Medicare. Under the Pioneer ACO Model, these savings are shared equally between the federal government and Partners.
Other Outcomes: 

Reported Outcomes (2017):

Last updated August 2018
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