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ACO Track 1+: A Good Starter Program for Two-Sided Risk

Although a one-sided model is no longer available, the risk in ACO Track 1+ is much lower than other programs. CMS also added popular features of Tracks 2 and 3 to offset the costs. More importantly, switching to Track 1+ will not rebase the historical benchmark of Track 1 participants. This presents a good alternative to shifting to a stricter two-side risk model. By taking on the lower risk option now, ACOs can begin to prepare their organizations for higher risk programs they will join in the future.
Track 1+ is also attractive to groups or small providers looking to create a new ACO, since it is no longer possible to create a one-sided ACO. However, small providers and rural hospitals may not be able to afford the possible 10 to 15% loss rate that Tracks 2 and 3 could incur. The loss rate for ACO Track 1+ will range from four to eight percent, which is much more palatable for groups getting into a new program. Coupled with the possible shared savings and other benefits of this program, Track 1+ is a good entry plan for groups looking to create an ACO.

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