From September 29th through October 1st, The National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS) convened in a hybrid manner to exchange best practices, current policy changes and share subject matter expertise for nearly 700 attendees that attended both in-person and virtually. This has always been a conference our team looks forward to attending because it keeps us most in-tune to our colleagues, and it also enables us to keep up on the pulse in terms of the direction the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is moving towards.

The conference began with pre-sessions discussing the alignment of Medicare Advantage with value-based initiatives in one room and the best methods for segmenting the Medicare dual-eligible population in another. While one typically stays for a singular session (and we usually have each team member choose one to attend separately), I decided to jump between the two, and to my great surprise, both rooms came to a very similar conclusion: The ACO space lends itself to tackling social and racial determinants of health (SDOH) because it is community-based, and if we want other payers to get on board with benefits then we need to identify ways to link cost savings to SDOH programs. No matter which way you put it, health equity was the topic of interest in every room.

Following the pre-sessions, we began the second day with our very own presentation entitled, “Empowering Providers: Using Data to Enable Continuous Performance and Quality Improvement.” I led the discussion and was joined by Salient’s Senior Business Consultant, Maria Nikol, MJ, as well as Mingle Health’s VP of Client Services, Alysen Casaccio, BHA, RN-BC, and their VP of Operations and Major Accounts, Jeff Iasilli. This well-attended session discussed the necessary data components and how best to deliver the data to promote the necessary change in care delivered by providers to move from fee-for-service practice to value-based care. Quality metric submission methods have been evolving since the birth of the ACO and are working their way towards full integration and aligning with Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA) requirements. We believe that ACOs need to engage with subject matter experts to encourage empowerment and fast adoption of best practices to make that move.

Some other notable sessions were entitled, “What’s Ahead for Direct Contracting,” “Hospital at Home Best Practices,” “Post-COVID Lessons,” “Future of Quality Measurement and Improvement in Value-Based Payment.” These were common themes across sessions as well as discussions amongst attendees. We are all just getting back into the swing of world things in a post-Covid-19 world and healthcare organizations are really looking to accelerate value-based care contractually and turning to technology to help augment the process.

During the NAACOS lunch plenary session, we were lucky enough to hear from former CEO of the Permanente Medical Group, author of New York Times bestsellers “Mistreated” and “Uncaring,” and host of the Fixing Healthcare Podcast, Dr. Robert Pearl. Dr. Pearl focused on physician culture, and how he believed the way doctors treated each other (hierarchy, ego, toxic relationships) was adversely affecting the American healthcare system. Dr. Pearl feels that to truly make an impact in population health, it requires as much a culture change as it does an operational change. After his insightful seminar, Dr. Pearl signed copies of “Uncaring” for everyone in attendance and was nice enough to spend a few minutes chatting with our business consultant, Ryan Mackman.

Day 2 would not have been complete without our team being able to show off our brand new booth and our newly upgraded Salient Solution! We thoroughly enjoyed showcasing all the hard work that Salient Healthcare has put into our product over the past year. If you’re planning on attending NAACOS Spring 2022 in April, please stop by and see what we’ve done.

For anyone who wishes to watch the recorded NAACOS presentation, including ours, you can use this link: Please note that you’ll have to have already registered for NAACOS Fall 2021, or simply reach out to NAACOS staff to purchase access. The recordings should be available for up to six months after the end of the conference.

We can’t wait for the next in-person event, and we hope to see some of you at FLAACOS in Orlando this year. We’ll have a recap of that available shortly after the conclusion of the conference as well. To close out this post, enjoy a few other photos from our amazing time in Washington, DC.


Amy Kotch

About the Author

Amy Kotch, MHA

Amy Kotch is Salient’s Lead Business Consultant working with ACOs nationwide. She received a masters in health administration from Florida Atlantic University as well as a bachelors of science from the University of Miami and has just recently completed a master certification in population health through a federal grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins University and Normandale Community College. Her prior work includes being the operations coordinator at Triple Aim Development Group consulting with ACOs/MSOs.

Ryan Mackman

About the Author

Ryan Mackman, MBA, MHA - Business Consultant

Ryan Mackman has been an ACO business consultant team member with Salient since March 2018. In this role, he acts as a solution trainer, marketing and sales consultant, as well as Value Based Payment strategist. His skillset helps augment Salient’s efforts at the ACO and physician practice level.

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