The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE BOARD(Cite as: 18 V.S.A. § 9382)
§ 9382. Oversight of accountable care organizations
(a) In order to be eligible to receive payments from Medicaid or commercial insurance through any payment reform program or initiative, including an all-payer model, each accountable care organization shall obtain and maintain certification from the Green Mountain Care Board. The Board shall adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 to establish standards and processes for certifying accountable care organizations. To the extent permitted under federal law, the Board shall ensure these rules anticipate and accommodate a range of ACO models and sizes, balancing oversight with support for innovation. In order to certify an ACO to operate in this State, the Board shall ensure that the following criteria are met:
(1) The ACO's governance, leadership, and management structure is transparent, reasonably and equitably represents the ACO's participating providers and its patients, and includes a consumer advisory board and other processes for inviting and considering consumer input.
(2) The ACO has established appropriate mechanisms and care models to provide, manage, and coordinate high-quality health care services for its patients, including incorporating the Blueprint for Health, coordinating services for complex high-need patients, and providing access to health care providers who are not participants in the ACO. The ACO ensures equal access to appropriate mental health care that meets standards of quality, access, and affordability equivalent to other components of health care as part of an integrated, holistic system of care.
(3) The ACO has established appropriate mechanisms to receive and distribute payments to its participating health care providers in a fair and equitable manner. To the extent that the ACO has the authority and ability to establish provider reimbursement rates, the ACO shall minimize differentials in payment methodology and amounts among comparable participating providers across all practice settings, as long as doing so is not inconsistent with the ACO's overall payment reform objectives.
(4) The ACO has established appropriate mechanisms and criteria for accepting health care providers to participate in the ACO that prevent unreasonable discrimination and are related to the needs of the ACO and the patient population served.
(5) The ACO has established mechanisms and care models to promote evidence-based health care, patient engagement, coordination of care, use of electronic health records, and other enabling technologies to promote integrated, efficient, seamless, and effective health care services across the continuum of care, where feasible.
(6) The ACO's participating providers have the capacity for meaningful participation in health information exchanges.
(7) The ACO has performance standards and measures to evaluate the quality and utilization of care delivered by its participating health care providers.
(8) The ACO does not place any restrictions on the information its participating health care providers may provide to patients about their health or decisions regarding their health.
(9) The ACO's participating health care providers engage their patients in shared decision making to inform them of their treatment options and the related risks and benefits of each.
(10) The ACO offers assistance to health care consumers, including:
(A) maintaining a consumer telephone line for complaints and grievances from attributed patients;
(B) responding and making best efforts to resolve complaints and grievances from attributed patients, including providing assistance in identifying appropriate rights under a patient's health plan;
(C) providing an accessible mechanism for explaining how ACOs work;
(D) providing contact information for the Office of the Health Care Advocate; and
(E) sharing deidentified complaint and grievance information with the Office of the Health Care Advocate at least twice annually.
(11) The ACO collaborates with providers not included in its financial model, including home- and community-based providers and dental health providers.
(12) The ACO does not interfere with patients' choice of their own health care providers under their health plan, regardless of whether a provider is participating in the ACO; does not reduce covered services; and does not increase patient cost sharing.
(13) The meetings of the ACO's governing body comply with the provisions of section 9572 of this title.
(14) The impact of the ACO's establishment and operation does not diminish access to any health care or community-based service or increase delays in access to care for the population and area it serves.
(15) The ACO has in place appropriate mechanisms to conduct ongoing assessments of its legal and financial vulnerabilities.
(16) The ACO has in place a financial guarantee sufficient to cover its potential losses.
(17) The ACO provides connections and incentives to existing community services for preventing and addressing the impact of childhood adversity. The ACO collaborates on the development of quality-outcome measurements for use by primary care providers who work with children and families and fosters collaboration among care coordinators, community service providers, and families.
(b)(1) The Green Mountain Care Board shall adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 to establish standards and processes for reviewing, modifying, and approving the budgets of ACOs with 10,000 or more attributed lives in Vermont. To the extent permitted under federal law, the Board shall ensure the rules anticipate and accommodate a range of ACO models and sizes, balancing oversight with support for innovation. In its review, the Board shall review and consider:
(A) information regarding utilization of the health care services delivered by health care providers participating in the ACO and the effects of care models on appropriate utilization, including the provision of innovative services;
(B) the Health Resource Allocation Plan identifying Vermont's critical health needs, goods, services, and resources as identified pursuant to section 9405 of this title;
(C) the expenditure analysis for the previous year and the proposed expenditure analysis for the year under review by payer;
(D) the character, competence, fiscal responsibility, and soundness of the ACO and its principals;
(E) any reports from professional review organizations;
(F) the ACO's efforts to prevent duplication of high-quality services being provided efficiently and effectively by existing community-based providers in the same geographic area, as well as its integration of efforts with the Blueprint for Health and its regional care collaboratives;
(G) the extent to which the ACO provides incentives for systemic health care investments to strengthen primary care, including strategies for recruiting additional primary care providers, providing resources to expand capacity in existing primary care practices, and reducing the administrative burden of reporting requirements for providers while balancing the need to have sufficient measures to evaluate adequately the quality of and access to care;
(H) the extent to which the ACO provides incentives for systemic integration of community-based providers in its care model or investments to expand capacity in existing community-based providers, in order to promote seamless coordination of care across the care continuum;
(I) the extent to which the ACO provides incentives for systemic health care investments in social determinants of health, such as developing support capacities that prevent hospital admissions and readmissions, reduce length of hospital stays, improve population health outcomes, reward healthy lifestyle choices, and improve the solvency of and address the financial risk to community-based providers that are participating providers of an accountable care organization;
(J) the extent to which the ACO provides incentives for preventing and addressing the impacts of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and other traumas, such as developing quality outcome measures for use by primary care providers working with children and families, developing partnerships between nurses and families, providing opportunities for home visits, and including parent-child centers and designated agencies as participating providers in the ACO;
(K) public comment on all aspects of the ACO's costs and use and on the ACO's proposed budget;
(L) information gathered from meetings with the ACO to review and discuss its proposed budget for the forthcoming fiscal year;
(M) information on the ACO's administrative costs, as defined by the Board;
(N) the effect, if any, of Medicaid reimbursement rates on the rates for other payers;
(O) the extent to which the ACO makes its costs transparent and easy to understand so that patients are aware of the costs of the health care services they receive; and
(P) the extent to which the ACO provides resources to primary care practices to ensure that care coordination and community services, such as mental health and substance use disorder counseling that are provided by community health teams, are available to patients without imposing unreasonable burdens on primary care providers or on ACO member organizations.
(2) The Green Mountain Care Board shall adopt rules pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 to establish standards and processes for reviewing, modifying, and approving the budgets of ACOs with fewer than 10,000 attributed lives in Vermont. In its review, the Board may consider as many of the factors described in subdivision (1) of this subsection as the Board deems appropriate to a specific ACO's size and scope.
(3)(A) The Office of the Health Care Advocate shall have the right to receive copies of all materials related to any ACO budget review and may:
(i) ask questions of employees of the Green Mountain Care Board related to the Board's ACO budget review;
(ii) submit written questions to the Board that the Board will ask of the ACO in advance of any hearing held in conjunction with the Board's ACO review;
(iii) submit written comments for the Board's consideration; and
(iv) ask questions and provide testimony in any hearing held in conjunction with the Board's ACO budget review.
(B) The Office of the Health Care Advocate shall not disclose further any confidential or proprietary information provided to the Office pursuant to this subdivision (3).
(c) The Board's rules shall include requirements for submission of information and data by ACOs and their participating providers as needed to evaluate an ACO's success. They may also establish standards as appropriate to promote an ACO's ability to participate in applicable federal programs for ACOs.
(d) All information required to be filed by an ACO pursuant to this section or to rules adopted pursuant to this section shall be made available to the public upon request, provided that individual patients or health care providers shall not be directly or indirectly identifiable.
(e) To the extent required to avoid federal antitrust violations, the Board shall supervise the participation of health care professionals, health care facilities, and other persons operating or participating in an accountable care organization. The Board shall ensure that its certification and oversight processes constitute sufficient State supervision over these entities to comply with federal antitrust provisions and shall refer to the Attorney General for appropriate action the activities of any individual or entity that the Board determines, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, may be in violation of State or federal antitrust laws without a countervailing benefit of improving patient care, improving access to health care, increasing efficiency, or reducing costs by modifying payment methods. (Added 2015, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Jan. 1, 2018; amended 2017, No. 59, § 1; 2017, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2, 13a, eff. May 22, 2018; 2017, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2017, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 2019, No. 14, § 54, eff. April 30, 2019; 2019, No. 52, § 2a.)