(HealthDay News) – One hundred twenty-three new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have been formed by doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, which will provide access to high-quality coordinated care for about 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 360 ACOs have been established since passage of the Affordable Care Act, providing care to more than 5.3 million Americans with Medicare. The ACOs must meet quality standards, which confirm that savings are achieved through coordination of care and provision of appropriate, safe, and timely care. ACO quality performance is assessed with 33 quality metrics relating to patient and caregiver experience of care, care coordination and patient safety, appropriate preventive health service use, and improved care for at-risk populations.

The new ACOs include a cross-section of health providers, including some in underserved areas. More than half of ACOs are physician-led organizations serving fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries. About one in five serve low-income and rural communities.

“Accountable Care Organizations are delivering higher-quality care to Medicare beneficiaries and are using Medicare dollars more efficiently,” Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “This is a great example of the Affordable Care Act rewarding hospitals and doctors that work together to help our beneficiaries get the best possible care.”

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