On April 24-26, The National Association of Accountable Care Organizations held its semi-annual conference for members. NAACOS invites its business partner members, including Husch Blackwell, to attend their semi-annual meetings. Scott Loftin, a Healthcare Regulatory Associate in Husch Blackwell’s Denver office, and I were fortunate enough to attend the conference on behalf of the firm. This conference provided an opportunity for us to listen to the issues, challenges, concerns, and ideas ACO leadership are exploring and facing in today’s regulatory landscape. The presentations and conversations among the members provided us with a deeper understanding of our ACO clients’ business and legal needs.

The presentations focused significantly on the new December 2018 Pathways to Success rule from CMS and how to navigate the subtleties of the regulations. Just last week, CMS and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced five new payment models that ACOs will be able to take advantage of in upcoming performance years. HHS’s announcement provides an overview of programs: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/04/22/hhs-deliver-value-based-transformation-primary-care.html. CMS Administrator Seema Verma was the keynote speaker at the conference and discussed her agency’s work towards breaking down bureaucratic barriers and innovation in the healthcare industry. Administrator Verma reiterated the significant impact NAACOs and its members have had in the successes achieved over the last decade in the drive towards value-based care. During the many presentations and interactive discussions at the conference, NAACOs members were overall very positive about the industry’s past performance and encouraged by CMS’s focus on shifting the healthcare paradigm in our country to an increased focus on Primary Care and the continued focus on value-based care.

NAACOS provides a wealth of resources, not only for its member ACOs, but for other providers seeking to implement value-based care programs and in navigating the regulatory landscape these various programs entail. Husch Blackwell is fortunate to have access to NAACOS’s helpful resources that provide significant value to our provider clients. Attending the conference made me excited to continue to work with our clients to achieve their operational and compliance goals!