Docs need more time to prepare for MACRA, CMS told

Care team

More time and greater simplicity are the biggest requests from medical societies and organizations acting on behalf of physicians when it comes to the proposed rule on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to communicate its final rule on MACRA in October or November.

It’s expected that hundreds of comments on the proposed rule were sent to CMS by its Monday, June 27, deadline. A number of physician organizations released copies of the letters they sent to CMS earlier this week. Here are just a handful of comments:

More time, please. CMS’ current proposal is to determine physicians’ 2019 compensation rates based on performance data physicians begin collecting January 1, 2017.

That’s much too soon, protest the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the American College of Surgeons, which propose that CMS start measuring physicians’ performance no sooner than July 1, 2017, reports Medscape. Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has asked CMS to start measuring physicians’ performance on January 1, 2018.

Keep it simple. While AAFP’s letter to CMS applauded the agency for simplifying quality reporting for doctors, the proposed regulations are still “overly complex and burdensome,” it wrote.

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) didn’t hold back on its punches either. The medical association’s letter stated that “[c]ompliance costs exceed any likely financial return on investment through incentives and avoided penalties,” according to Medscape.

MGMA’s letter leveled criticism at the agency’s approach with the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Doctors should be spending time with patients--not reporting on “government-mandated data points,” wrote the organization.

Include Medicare Advantage. Physicians who participate in Medicare Advantage alternative payment models should be able to qualify for MACRA’s Alternative Payment Model (APM) incentives, wrote Donald Crane, CEO of CAPG, which represents hundreds of multispecialty practices and independent practice associations engaged in capitated, coordinated care, in his letter to CMS.

- read the Medscape article
- check out MGMA’s letter
- review AAFP’s letter
- read CAPG’s letter
- find TMA's letter