Could MACRA Be Delayed?

On April 27, 2016 CMS released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA ended more than a decade of last-minute SGR doc fixes for Medicare physicians and clinicians. In SGR’s place, it established two primary payment models for Medicare physicians to choose from: The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS and the Advanced Alternative Payment Model or APM. Meaningful Use for Medicare physicians participating in the EHR incentive program will be folded into MIPS. Learn more about the models on the CMS website.

At a hearing on MACRA yesterday by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) said the agency may consider a delay in implementing MACRA, acknowledging that small and rural practices may struggle with the new legislation and its current January 1, 2017 start date.

The hearing was led by Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Testimony by Slavitt provided an opportunity to address MACRA implementation efforts and concerns.

From Modern Healthcare: In his opening testimony, Slavitt said the CMS is open to alternative measures that will achieve the agency’s objectives, which include patient participation and reducing reporting burdens for practices. Senators continued to show great concern for small and rural practices, which have said MACRA could force them to join hospitals or larger practices because of the paperwork and payment changes required. Slavitt said the CMS is aware of these potential conflicts and also concerned. CMS has received “significant feedback”, Slavitt said. “Some of the things that are on the table, (that) we’re considering include alternative start dates, looking at whether shorter periods could be used, and finding other ways for physicians to get experience with the program before the impact of it really hits them.” Read more.

The final rule for MACRA is set to be released sometime before November 1.

Learn more about MIPS, APMs and any potential delays at our upcoming webinar, ABCs of MIPS on July 21 at 2 pm EDT/11 am PDT. Register here.