The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced formation of 106 new accountable care organizations for Medicare beneficiaries, bring the total to more than 250 ACOs nationwide serving up to 4 million patients.

The ACOs are part of the Medicare Shared Savings program in which providers and the government share health care cost savings above certain thresholds while meeting 33 care quality measures. About half of the ACOs are physician-led organizations serving less than 10,000 beneficiaries, according to CMS.

Fifteen of the new ACOs are participating in the Advanced Payment Model program. They receive upfront capital from Medicare to enhance staff, information systems and infrastructure, with Medicare recouping the payments over time through shared savings. Applications will be available in the summer of 2013 for organizations wishing to join the Shared Savings program beginning in January 2014. More information is available here.

CMS also announced that Medicaid spending per beneficiary rose only 0.4 percent in 2012, compared with 3.6 percent in 2011 and 1.8 percent in 2010. A report on the spending trends is here. A list of the 106 new ACOs is here.

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