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Providers Can Pick Pace of MACRA Adoption, Slavitt Says

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  • September 16, 2016
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Providers Can Pick Pace of MACRA Adoption, Slavitt Says

Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has previewed four options for providers’ adoption of MACRA beginning January 1, 2017, quashing hopes for postponement.
In The CMS Blog, Slavitt acknowledged concern about the imminent implementation, saying,

“We received feedback on our April proposal for implementing the Quality Payment Program, both in writing and as we talked to thousands of physicians and other clinicians across the country. Universally, the clinician community wants a system that begins and ends with what’s right for the patient. We heard from physicians and other clinicians on how technology can help with patient care and how excessive reporting can distract from patient care; how new programs like medical homes can be encouraged; and the unique issues facing small and rural non-hospital-based physicians. We will address these areas and the many other comments we received when we release the final rule by November 1, 2016.”

Slavitt explained the agency will allow providers to pick their own pace of participation for the first performance period. Choosing one of the options, below, “would ensure” providers do not receive a negative payment adjustment in 2019. More information will be available when the final rule is released on November.

First Option: Test Quality-based Payment.

With this option, as long as the provider submits some data to the Quality Payment Program, including data from after Jan. 1, 2017, the provider avoids a negative payment adjustment. This option is designed to ensure that your system is working and that you are prepared for broader participation in 2018 and 2019 as you learn more.

Second Option: Participate for part of the calendar year.

Providers may choose to submit quality-based payment information for a reduced number of days. The first performance period may begin later than Jan. 1, 2017, and the practice could still qualify for a small positive payment adjustment. Information submitted for part of the calendar year for quality measures, how the  practice uses technology, and what improvement activities are being undertaken, providers may qualify for a small positive payment adjustment. Providers can select from the list of quality measures and improvement activities available under the Quality Payment Program.

Third Option: Participate for the full calendar year.

Providers ready to go on Jan. 1 may choose to submit quality-based payment information for a full calendar year. The first performance period would begin on Jan. 1, 2017. Providers who submit information for the entire year on quality measures, how the practice uses technology, and what improvement activities are being undertaken may qualify for a modest positive payment adjustment.

Fourth Option: Participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017.

Instead of reporting quality data and other information, the law allows providers to participate in the Quality Payment Program by joining an Advanced Alternative Payment Model, such as Medicare Shared Savings Track 2 or 3 in 2017. If a provider receives enough  Medicare payments or see enough Medicare patients through the Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017, then the provider qualifies for a 5 percent incentive payment in 2019.

What is Macra

Brad Ericson
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Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, is a seasoned healthcare writer and editor. He directed publishing at AAPC for nearly 12 years and worked at Ingenix for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

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