Health Affairs Releases “Recent Progress in the Value Journey: Growth of ACOs and Value-Based Payment Models in 2018” Blog Post

Salt Lake City, August 14, 2018 –Today, Health Affairs released “Recent Progress in the Value Journey: Grown of ACOs and Value-Based Payment Models in 2018,” a blog presenting figures on accountable care organization (ACO) and value-based payment (VBP) adoption from the past year and discusses the implications of these trends for the future. The post is especially timely given the recently-released proposed rule to redesign the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ findings that non-risk-bearing ACOs in Tack 1 (82 percent of MSSP participants) increase Medicare spending in aggregate. The redesigned program, called “Pathways to Success,” aims to improve accountability for ACOs and increase savings for Medicare.

The blog discusses findings from national surveys of physicians, consumers, and employer benefit decision-makers that Leavitt Partners administered between May 25, 2017 and July 14, 2017. Key takeaways include:

  1. The overall numbers of ACOs and ACO contracts increased through the first quarter of 2018, with about 10 percent of the U.S. population now covered by an ACO. This is an increase of about 2 million (6 percent) over the previous year’s revised estimates.
  2. Medicare ACO contracts continued to grow over the past year, while commercial contracts saw little net growth and the number of Medicaid contacts decreased slightly as some state demonstration programs were not renewed. This may be due to uncertainty in the market.
  3. All states now have more than two percent of their population covered by accountable care contracts, and some have much more.
  4. In addition to ACOs, other VBP models are continuing to grow, with commercial payers and self-funded employers continuing to expand their bundled payment offerings.

These trends indicate that VBP will continue to grow in the future. Although there was uncertainty in 2017 about the federal government’s commitment to payment reform, there currently appears to be strong support. Faster progress in care reform is possible as growth in bundled and specialized-care payment reforms can complement ACO and primary care reforms, and providers can learn from organizations that are succeeding in taking on meaningful financial risk. As payers refine models to encourage breadth of risk as well as depth of risk, the business case for delivery reform will become more compelling.

The blog post can be viewed here.

About the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative (ACLC):
The ACLC accelerates the transition to accountable care by identifying what providers need to succeed in value-based payment models. Through collaborative forums, members contribute their understanding and experience in the real world of accountable care implementation. The ACLC is managed by Leavitt Partners, LLC. For more information please visit

About Leavitt Partners:

Leavitt Partners is a health care intelligence business. The firm helps clients successfully navigate the evolving role of value in health care by informing, advising, and convening industry leaders on value market analytics, alternative payment models, federal strategies, insurance market insights, and alliances. Through its family of businesses, the firm provides investment support, data and analytics, member-based alliances, and direct services to clients to support decision-making strategies in the value economy. For more information please visit