Medical societies pleased with MACRA rule

May 4, 2016

Medical societies are welcoming the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule for implementing the legislation that will change the way Medicare reimburses physicians.

Medical societies are welcoming the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule for implementing the legislation that will change the way Medicare reimburses physicians.

 On April 27, CMS released for public comment its proposed rule for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) Congress enacted a year ago. Among other provisions, the law eliminates the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for setting reimbursement rates and simplifies many of the reporting requirements for doctors regarding quality metrics and use of electronic health records (EHRs).

 

Related: Small practices likely to be 'losers' under MACRA

 

 “The American College of Physicians is greatly encouraged that the proposed rule to implement MACRA…makes significant improvements in simplifying the administrative burden of quality reporting and introducing greater flexibility in meeting federal requirements relating to use of EHR,” Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Physicians, said in a written statement.

In a written statement on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians, President Wanda Filer, MD, MBA said, ”reforming the way physicians are paid by Medicare is fundamental to improving the quality and outcomes of patient care, while increasing the efficiency of care delivery in the system as a whole.” Filer said CMS’s proposed regulations “are a step toward achieving these reforms.”    

The American Osteopathic Association is optimistic that the rule’s impact on physicians will be “extremely positive,” according to Ray Quintero, the association’s senior vice president for public policy. “It appears from the proposed rule that CMS is providing additional flexibility for physicians, which will reward them for quality and not penalize them for doing the right things,” Quintero told Medical Economics

Next: AMA and NAACOS react

 

Quintero cited the way the rule treats use of electronic health records (EHRs) as a significant improvement over current policy. “We’d said for years that a doctor who does nothing [in terms of EHR use] shouldn’t be penalized the same as a doctor who tries hard to meet the reporting requirements and just misses the mark, and from the proposed rule it looks like that’s no longer the case.”

 

Further reading: 7 things physicians need to know about MACRA proposed rule

 

The American Medical Association also is pleased by how MACRA would change reporting requirements for doctors. “Our initial review suggests that CMS has been listening to physicians’ concerns,” AMA president Steven Stack, MD., said in a statement. “It appears that CMS has made significant improvements by recasting the EHR Meaningful Use program and by reducing quality reporting burdens.”

Not all reaction to the proposed rule has been positive, however. The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) said it’s concerned that the rule would limit the number of advanced payment models that could qualify for a financial bonus from Medicare, especially practices that have enrolled in Track 1 of the Medicare Shared Savings Program. “We are incredibly disappointed the agency has chosen to exclude Track 1 ACOs,” Clif Gaus, NACCOS president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

CMS will accept public comment on the rule through June 27.  At some point after that it will issue a final version of the rule.