Transforming Care: ACO Briefs and Other Resources

In 2017, the HPC launched a first-in-the-nation set of statewide standards for ACOs. These resources provide stakeholders with information regarding the characteristics and operations of the certified ACOs that met those standards.

Overview of HPC-certified ACOs

The HPC is developing a series of written reports and other resources regarding the landscape of certified Massachusetts Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) based on the information submitted by applicants for ACO Certification and other publicly available information. The purpose of this series of data briefs, to be released in 2018 – 2019, is to provide policymakers, health care providers, payers and purchasers, researchers and other members of the interested public with new information and insights regarding the characteristics of certified ACOs, including how they are organized and governed, how they set and implement quality improvement strategies, their experience managing patients under risk contracts, and other key features.

What is an HPC-Certified ACO?

HPC-Certified ACO Infographic

ACOs and Serious Illness Care Webinar, 1/24/19, 12pm - 1:30pm

The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care and the Health Policy Commission (HPC) hosted a webinar regarding accountable care organizations' (ACOs') efforts to support the wishes of patients facing serious and advancing illness on January 24th, 2019 from 12-1:30pm. The webinar involved a panel discussion moderated by Maureen Bisognano and highlighting the activities of three ACOs—Pioneer Valley Accountable Care, Lahey Clinical Performance ACO, and Partners HealthCare—that have implemented innovative approaches to advance serious illness care in the Commonwealth. Click here to view the recording.

Accountable Care Organizations in Massachusetts: Profiles of the 2017-2019 HPC-certified ACOs

These ACO Profiles provide a snapshot of the HPC-certified ACOs, using non-confidential information submitted to the HPC through ACO Certification and other public data, including data from the Massachusetts Registration of Provider Organizations (MA-RPO) program. The profiles contain a variety of key facts about the ACO and, where applicable, the larger provider organizations of which they are a part, including the payers with whom the ACO has risk contracts, the areas of the state in which they provide care, and their approximate size.  The Introduction provides some additional context, and the Data Sources and Methods section includes details on the methodology used to generate the profiles.   

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Transforming Care: ACO Brief #1: Introduction to Accountable Care Organizations in Massachusetts

The first brief in the series is available for download here. Published in April 2018, the brief provides background information on the HPC ACO Certification program as well as several key facts about the certified ACOs, such as:

  • Approximately 1.9 million commercial or Medicare patients in Massachusetts are served by HPC-certified ACOs.
  • The 17 HPC-certified ACOs have a total of 66 commercial risk contracts, 17 MassHealth risk contracts, and 11 Medicare risk contracts.
  • Over 80% of ACOs have at least one hospital as an ACO participant.

The HPC welcomes questions and feedback on this brief and on the plans for future reporting on the ACO Certification program. Please contact us at

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Transforming Care: ACO Brief #2: How ACOs in Massachusetts Manage Population Health

The second brief in the series, available for download here, provides information about some population health management (PHM) activities of HPC-certified ACOs, including risk stratification and implementation of PHM programs to address identified needs, particularly related to behavioral health and the social determinants of health. Findings discussed in the brief include:

  • ACOs use a variety of data sources to stratify their patient population for risk, including payer reports, claims data, and clinical data.
  • More than three-quarters of the certified ACOs collect information on their patients’ language, race, and ethnicity, while approximately half collect information on history of abuse and trauma, and gender identity.
  • Fourteen ACOs reported using new members of the care team such as CHWs, care coordinators, and resource specialists to coordinate and facilitate connections to community resources.

The brief concludes with some recommendations on how providers, payers and policy makers can support more effective PHM approaches and programs.

The HPC welcomes questions and feedback on this brief and on the plans for future reporting on the ACO Certification program. Please contact us at

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