CMS Wants Control of ACO Marketing Materials

06/06/2011 - 12:00am

Under the proposed Medicare Shared Savings Program regulation, CMS states that it is

concerned that beneficiaries may be misled into thinking the ACO is similar to a managed care organization (such as an ACO), and that they may only receive services or only certain services from other participating ACO providers/suppliers.[1]

Based on this concern, CMS proposes requiring preapproval for all ACO “marketing materials, communications, and activities.” [2] This includes (but is not limited to) “brochures, advertisements, outreach events, letters to beneficiaries, web pages, mailings, or other activities….” If the marketing materials are “used to educate, solicit, notify, or contact Medicare beneficiaries or providers and suppliers regarding the ACO and its participation in the Shared Savings Program,” it must be preapproved by CMS.[3]

CMS makes no promises or even estimates on how long they will take to return requests for the approval of marketing materials. But if the tardiness of the proposed regulation itself is any indication of the efficiency and speediness of CMS, requiring preapproval of ACO marketing can only hamper the need for timely marketing to potential beneficiaries.

CMS, by requiring preapproval of all ACO marketing materials, violates its own vision statement. CMS is acting less like a “trustworthy partner for the continual improvement of health and health care for all Americans”[4] and more like a jealous and controlling lover.

The comment period for this regulation ends June 6, 2010 at 5pm. Click here now, to tell the Obama Administration what you think of the regulation. To read more about this regulation, go to our ACO regulation page and see our related articles below.

[1] Medicare Program; Medicare Shared Savings Program: Accountable Care Organizations, 76 Fed. Reg. 19,528, 19,551 (proposed Apr. 7, 2011) (to be codified at 42 C.F.R § 425).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.