Physicians who want to change their participation status for 2017 must send a letter to Noridian, California’s Medicare contractor, postmarked by December 31, 2016.
Penalties lower, bonuses higher
Before MACRA, physicians were facing double-digit SGR payment cuts and 11 to 13 percent or more in payment penalties for not meeting the all-or-nothing requirements in the three Medicare reporting programs (Physician Quality Reporting System, EHR Incentive Program and Value-Based Payment Modifier).
Though not perfect, the final MACRA rule, which takes effect January 1, 2017, is clear improvement over current law. While CMA is still reviewing the final rule, below are key improvements that CMA and AMA fought to achieve:
CMA will continue to fight for improvements to the MACRA regulations and the law to reduce the administrative burdens and open up more opportunities for fair payment.
Other key highlights of the final rule include:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today released the final implementation rule for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which aims to reform the Medicare physician payment system.
The California Medical Association (CMA), American Medical Association (AMA) and nearly every other physician organization supported the bipartisan legislation because it was intended to provide stable payment updates, significantly reduce the quality reporting program burdens, reinstate bonus payments and allow innovative, physician-led alternative payment models.
“Physicians, particularly small and rural practices, need a modernized, flexible and streamlined system to support high-quality patient care,” said CMA President Steven E. Larson, M.D., MPH. “From day one, CMA urged CMS to delay the MACRA reporting period and provide a longer transition timeline for small medical practices, as well as exempt them from penalties. We applaud today’s announcement, which included additional exemptions and the elimination of penalties during the first year of implementation even for physicians that attempt to report on a few measures, as well as the delay in the 2017 reporting period. We also appreciate that CMS will offer full participation and bonus payment eligibility to medical practices ready for MACRA on January 1, 2017.”
Today’s final rule reflects additional steps taken by CMS to reduce the regulatory burden on physicians, but concerns remain. Physicians already spend 785 hours a year on quality reporting activities. For every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time with patients, nearly two additional hours are dedicated to paper and desk work.
“CMA is reviewing and assessing the impact of the complex final rule,” said Dr. Larson. “We remain committed to ensuring that MACRA allows more innovative, physician-led alternative payment models and lessens the reporting burdens on everyone.”
Physicians should visit CMA’s MACRA resource center to better understand the payment reforms and access resources for the transition. The resource center is a one-stop-shop with tools, checklists and information from CMA, CMS, AMA and national specialty society clinical data registries. The final rule is nearly 2,400 pages – the result of a CMS listening tour with nearly 100,000 attendees and 4,000 public comments. CMA will add an updated summary and materials, including additional webinars, to the resource center in the coming weeks.
TWEET THIS NEWS
.@cmaphysicians applauds CMS for including additional exemptions/eliminating penalties in 1st year of implementation http://cal.md/2dPZLoJ
.@cmaphysicians remains committed to ensuring #MACRA allows more innovative/physician-led alternative payment models http://cal.md/2dPZLoJ
“Physicians need a modernized, flexible and streamlined system to support high-quality patient care.” @cmaphysicians http://cal.md/2dPZLoJ
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The California Medical Association represents the state's physicians with more than 42,000 members in all modes of practice and specialties. CMA is dedicated to the health of all patients in California. For more information, please visit cmanet.org, and follow CMA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Hear from industry experts and physician leaders about their experiences with new payment models, quality reporting and more. Available episodes include: