Frequently Asked Questions

You may want to read Accountable Care Organizations & You from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for general information about ACOs.


What is Connected Care of Southeastern Massachusetts?
Connected Care of Southeastern Massachusetts is the name of the Accountable Care Organization in which physicians from South Shore Health and Brigham and Women’s Harbor Medical Associates are participating.


What if I don’t want to be in an ACO, can I opt out?

Your physician is the one who participates in the Model. Patients are cared for by physicians who are participating in the ACO. Your Medicare benefits won’t be limited because your doctor is part of an ACO. You still have the right to choose any hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare, at any time, even if that hospital or doctor isn’t a part of an ACO. Your doctor may make recommendations, but it’s always your choice on what doctors or hospitals you use. You may have access to special programs to support your health, and your participation in those programs is voluntary.


How does being in an ACO help my doctor?

Your primary care physician or specialist will have better access to the expertise, staff, information, and technology that they need to make sure your care is coordinated across all of the places you receive services.


Does this mean my doctor decides what care I can receive?

Nobody can restrict which providers you see. An ACO is not a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). There are no changes to your Medicare benefits—you still have traditional Medicare coverage. You can still go to any doctor, hospital, or other provider that accepts Medicare.  


What information about me will the ACO have access to?

Medicare will share information about medical services that you receive with the ACO. This may include doctor, hospital, and pharmacy visits in the past and moving forward. The ACO will not have access to your complete medical record. The data that is shared will be claims information aimed at letting the ACO know about services that you received, which will create opportunities for the ACO to improve your care.


How can I decline to have my personal health information shared?

You can prevent your information from being shared by calling 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-663-4227) and telling the operator you are calling about ACOs.

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