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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Coastal Medical, Rhode Island’s largest primary care group practice, will receive $2.4 million in an advanced payment as part of its Medicare Shared Savings Accountable Care Organization, or ACO, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Wednesday.
The money – $600,000 up front, with the remaining $1.8 million in monthly payments made over two years – will be used to provide the physician-led Coastal Medical with working capital to develop and implement new clinical programs for beneficiaries, Dr. G. Alan Kurose, president and CEO of Coastal Medical, told Providence Business News.
Coastal Medical had been one of 89 medical organizations designated as a “Shared Savings ACO” on July 9 by CMS; it was only one of 15 such organizations to receive an advanced payment.
The funding formula was based upon the number of Medicare beneficiaries served by Coastal Medical, which CMS calculated as about 9,400, according to Kurose.
The Medicare Shared Savings Program under the Affordable Care Act is designed to encourage better coordination of care for Medicare patients, so that patients receive the right care at the right time, without duplication of services or medical errors, according to Coastal officials.
Among the investments the new funding will support are stipends for nurse care managers providing care and support for Medicare patients, according to Kurose.
The advanced payment as part of the shared savings ACO program fits with Coastal Medical’s new initiative to provide seven-day-a-week, 365-day-year primary care coverage through its community-based offices, as a way to improve patient care as well as cut down on unnecessary and expensive emergency room visits.