Docs look to Price for relief from regulatory burden, including MACRA

Not all doctors were behind the appointment of fellow physician Tom Price as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. But with Price’s confirmation to the post last week, some doctor’s groups are looking to Price to make changes that will benefit physicians, including easing MACRA requirements.

One group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) sent congratulations to Price on his confirmation, but also suggested he make the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), the new physician reimbursement system for Medicare, voluntary.

AASP agrees with some of Price’s “unorthodox” views including freedom for patients and physicians, and the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. “HHS has denied or restricted freedom in medicine in countless ways,” executive director Jane Orient, M.D., said in an announcement.

The AASP would like to see the MACRA final rule go away completely, but short of that, Price could take action to make more doctors exempt from the payment methodology or allow them to opt out of MACRA, “and adopt payment based on patient value rather than by bureaucratically dictated value,” Orient said.

The group also had a second request, that Price reverse the HHS policy that forces seniors to accept Medicare Part A or forgo all Social Security benefits.

The Medical Group Management Association sent a congratulatory letter to Price that also indicated its desire that the new HHS chief eliminate “onerous regulatory burdens hindering the ability of medical group practices to deliver high quality and efficient patient care,” including simplifying the reporting requirements under MACRA.

The MGMA also called for Price to simplify administrative standards, increase opportunities for physicians to participate in Alternative Payment Models (APMs) under MACRA, delay further Electronic Health Record (EHR) Certification requirements and provide relief from the Stark Physician Self-Referral Law.

The AMGA, a group that supports MACRA, said it looked forward to working with him to transition the financing of healthcare from volume-based to value-based payment. 

Price was a controversial choice by President Donald Trump to head HHS. Although the American Medical Association endorsed Price once Trump nominated him, many doctors within the organization were vocal about their opposition to his appointment.