The Affordable Care Act is well underway and the current of change in fee-for-service clinical encounters will soon become a distant reality with the announcement by the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell in January, 2015 and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid call for the New Generation of Accountable Care Organizations. March, 10th.

Accountable Care Organizations are the U.S. government’s vision for a value-based health system largely built on the idea that consolidating services among care providers can mean better utilization of resources and improve individual patient outcomes.

Health care professionals, practices, health care systems and community-based programs can voluntarily form networks of providers who work together to lower health care spending and, in return receive incentivized payments for the money they save Medicare and Medicaid.

The Next Generation Model ACOs will also have additional coverage of telehealth and post-discharge home services, coverage of skilled nursing care without prior hospitalization, and reward payments to beneficiaries for receiving care from ACOs.

This latest ACO model represents another step forward in the interest of setting clear, measurable goals and a timeline to move U.S. health care toward better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.