CMS adds flexibility, reduces quality reporting burden in MACRA rule proposal

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In a conference call announcing its proposed rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emphasized its desire to work in partnership with physicians to craft a flexible payment model that promotes quality care without placing undue burdens on practices or practitioners.

RELATED: CMS releases MACRA rule proposal

The success of the government's move to pay physicians based on the quality of the care they provide rather than the quantity relies heavily on how CMS goes about measuring quality and whether those measurements generate additional administrative burdens for practices. The proposed rule takes aim at this issue by adjusting the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) to "streamline and reduce reporting burden" across the four categories it measures, and to provide flexibility for physicians to choose quality measures and practice improvements that represent a good fit for their specialties.

Industry response to the latest proposal is mixed. American Medical Association (AMA) President Steven J. Stack, M.D., applauded the "significant improvements" in the rule, particularly its reconfiguration of the Meaningful Use Program. However, the narrower range of programs encompassed in the Advanced Alternative Payment Models track of the rule provoked a less-enthusiastic take from Tom Nickels, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association (AHA), who warned of potential for "a chilling effect on providers' ability to experiment with new patient-centered, value-driven payment models."

CMS announced it will solicit comments through June 26, 2016, as well as undertake a listening tour and road show in order to get additional feedback from the medical community.

To learn more:
- read the rule (.pdf)
- here's the announcement
- read the AMA statement
- see the AHA statement

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