Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said the agency is open to the possibility of delaying the start of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), according to a report by Healthcare Informatics.

Slavitt, testifying at a U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hearing this morning, left open the possibility that the January 1, 2017 start date for MACRA could be pushed back, the publication said.

Slavitt said CMS may delay the start date for the Medicare payment reform system because some physicians, particularly those at small practices, may not be ready for the changes.

In his testimony, Slavitt told lawmakers CMS received 3,875 comments on the proposed rule to implement MACRA. Numerous groups representing physicians asked for more time for doctors to prepare for the changes to the Medicare payment system, as well as greater simplicity.

Responding to concerns from lawmakers at the hearing that physicians be successful under the new payment system, Slavitt said the program needs to be launched “so it begins on the right foot, so every physician in the country feels that they are set up for success,” according to the Healthcare Informatics report.

CMS remains open to several options, including alternative start dates, shorter reporting periods and other ways physicians could get help and experience before the program begins, Slavitt said, according to the aricle.

Slavitt said CMS plans to issue a final rule after completing its review of comments and feedback.

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