The Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled proposed regulations on the establishment of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare. The regulations, which would implement the Medicare Shared Savings program included in the Affordable Care Act, were announced in a teleconference this morning by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Don Berwick, and other officials.

Much of the critical work on ACOs has appeared in the pages of Health Affairs, beginning when Elliott Fisher of Dartmouth and colleagues advanced the idea of ACOs in 2006. Watch Health Affairs Blog and Health Affairs journal for coming analyses of the new rules.

The proposed regulations are available in the Federal Register. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have issued a proposed statement of antitrust policy regarding ACOs, and CMS and the HHS Office of Inspector General have released a notice on possible waivers of the application of the Physician Self-Referral Law, the Federal anti-kickback statute, and certain civil monetary penalties law provisions to specified financial arrangements involving ACOs. Berwick also discusses the new proposed rules in a perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine.