The rise of MACRA: 3 things for providers to know

Doctors may need to improve their quality reporting to align better with MACRA and MIPS.

As MACRA is set to take effect, the next three years will see a gradual increase in physician Medicare payment, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Although this may seem like a slow change, the Act impacts payment processes in ways that could require significant restructuring.

Entities that have already felt overwhelmed with previous mandated policy changes could feel similarly taken aback by the implications of this new system, especially since there may be specific changes for different branches of care providers.

For example, the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons addresses one of the ways this rule interacts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, noting that under MACRA this organization has to "develop a process to gather information needed to value surgical services from a representative sample of physicians and requires that data collection begin by January 1, 2017."

Prepare for MACRA implementation in your practice by taking the following steps:

  • Develop an Alternative Payment Model: In addition to aligning with the Act's goals, providers can directly receive incentives by entering into an APM. As the bulletin notes, these can include both additional payments and exemption from some requirements.
  • Track quality data: Although MACRA differs from meaningful use in some respects, it does flow easily if participants have already tried to meet these standards. The AAFP notes that a Quality and Resource Use Report derived from data monitoring could be a launching point for better targeted practice improvements.
  • Understand the MIPS composite performance score: This metric will draw from numerous programs to create a rating under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System. To be mindful of this greater number, participants may need to address issues with the individual components such as EHR meaningful use.

Organizations that still need to take action to prepare for MACRA can work with consultants to improve reporting techniques.

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