The National Association of Accountable Care Organizations released results of a survey of member ACOs Monday that could hold dire implications for the Medicare Shared Savings Program for ACOs. 

More than half of healthcare organizations taking financial risk in a Medicare program said they are at least somewhat likely to drop out because of the fiscal pressures being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 80% of ACOs said they were “very concerned” about their performance this year.

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has provided some relief for providers taking part in Medicare quality reporting programs, Clif Gaus, NAACOS president and CEO, is still concerned it may not be enough to prevent dropouts.

“When ACOs made a commitment to assume risk, they didn’t expect they’d be handling the risk of a global pandemic,” Gause said. “Rather than be forced to pay enormous losses resulting from the pandemic, these groups of providers may sadly quit the program, which they can do without penalty by May 31. Medicare’s decade-long effort to change how we pay for healthcare to better reward quality and outcomes may be lost unless Washington acts quickly to throw these providers a lifeline.”