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Am J Manag Care. 2019 Sep 1;25(9):e267-e273.

Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO network comprehensiveness and patient panel stability.

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Health Policy Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Scaife Hall, Ste S310, 3550 Terrace St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. Email:



The current Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) accountable care organization (ACO) attribution methodology creates unpredictability for ACOs that are developing and deploying strategic initiatives aimed at improving value. The goal of this study is to determine if ACO network comprehensiveness is associated with the stability of assigned Medicare beneficiaries from 2013 to 2014.


We utilized a beneficiary-level logistic regression model to determine association of network comprehensiveness with stable attribution to an MSSP ACO.


Using 2013 and 2014 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary and provider files, we developed a measure of network comprehensiveness based on 2013 provider contracts, determined beneficiary attribution, and generated market-level measures. Additional population and quality measures were obtained from the US Census and the ACO Public Use File.


Of the 1,317,858 observed beneficiaries, 84.38% were attributed to the same ACO in 2013 and 2014, and mean (SD) ACO network comprehensiveness was 0.30 (0.20). We found that a 0.10 increase in network comprehensiveness score significantly increased the odds of remaining attributed to the same ACO by 4.5% (P = .001). Patient panel stability was significantly associated with improved diabetes (P = .01) and hypertension (P = .02) control, timely access to care (P = .001), and delivery of health education (P = .03) over the 2-year period.


The comprehensiveness of an MSSP ACO's contracted provider network is associated with stable patient assignment year to year. Patient panel stability may aid in the longitudinal management of some conditions.

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