The AAMC joined 12 other health care stakeholder groups in a letter of support for the Accountable Care in Rural America Act (H.R. 3746) on June 15, 2021.
The letter, which was sent to the lead sponsors of the bill ̶ Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.), and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) ̶ highlighted the importance of the legislation for ensuring that all accountable care organizations (ACOs) have “an equal opportunity to share in savings regardless of their geographic location.”
The legislation would alter the benchmarking methodology of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), which currently inadvertently disadvantages many MSSP participants, especially those in rural areas. Known as the “rural glitch,” the current methodology includes an ACO’s own beneficiaries in the regional adjustment, which in turn disadvantages ACOs that make up a large share of a given market. The letter remarked that “no ACO should be placed in a less favorable financial position due to their geography alone, and design flaws that discourage ACOs from operating in rural areas should be eliminated.”
“Amending the Social Security Act to improve the MSSP benchmarking process and level the playing field for rural ACOs is a critical step to ensuring all providers and patients are able to benefit from this program,” the letter concluded.