Antitrust considerations for Health Care Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs): Some antitrust preventive medicine
January 1, 2012 marked the statutory deadline for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (the “Program”) to be established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. With the two-fold goal of increasing quality while reducing costs in serving Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, the Program encourages health care providers to form Accountable Care Organizations (“ACOs”). Through a well-coordinated effort, federal agencies met the deadline and the first participant ACOs are scheduled to start in the Program on April 1, 2012. As health care providers are in the process of setting up ACOs, it is an appropriate time to review some antitrust considerations related to these arrangements.