What is a Management Services Organization?
MSOs exist in many sectors to provide “back-office” services to independent agencies, enabling them to achieve greater efficiency in their administrative operations and share fixed costs over multiple organizations. In some ways, MSOs function like cooperatives, where independent actors (e.g., grocery stores) can use common marketing, purchase in bulk, and increase their scale. In healthcare, MSOs have some similarity to Independent Practice Associations (IPA), which allow groups of providers to contract collectively with payers, although MSOs typically do not enter into contracts directly with payers.
Based on our discussions to date with stakeholders, we envision ANYF’s MSO providing coordinated marketing and facilitated contracting between agencies and healthcare entities. It will likely also provide electronic billing support and quality assurance regarding services delivered to clients under contracts with healthcare payers. Additional functions and needs may emerge over time and we look forward to learning more as we move forward. For now, the costs of starting the MSO are being contributed by DFTA. Eventually, the MSO will need to become a self-sustaining operation under ANYF through earned revenue.
To start the MSO ANYF is using an application process intended to identify strong organizations with the capcities needed to partcipate. ANYF is currently working with the initial respondents to the Fall 2016 Request for Applications.
The community-based agencies in New York’s aging services network already provide valuable services to promote health and improve health outcomes, but we believe there is more to be done. Developing the infrastructure to support the inclusion of agencies as a functioning part of the healthcare system is a key objective in NYC The Department for the Aging's (DFTA) strategic plan. As part of this strategic initiative, in 2016/2017, DFTA has committed to begin operations of a new Management Services Organization (MSO) within DFTA’s not-for-profit arm, the Aging in New York Fund (ANYF), to form a bridge between the aging and health sectors. The work of the MSO is intended to benefit its member agencies, their healthcare payer customers, and most importantly, the older adults and persons with disabilities who will gain access to services.
In this work, DFTA and ANYF are part of the national movement focusing attention on the social determinants of health and creating a broader set of tools to address the interrelated health and social support challenges facing older adults and people with disabilities. These efforts have also been nurtured federally by the Administration on Community Living, and more recently statewide by New York State’s Office of the Aging (NYSOFA) and Department of Health (NYSDOH).