MACRA’s future? Tom Price wants doctors’ ideas for Medicare payment models

If you have ideas for innovative Medicare payment models, new Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price wants to hear them.

Price asked doctors to recommend payment alternatives to fee-for-service models at a meeting earlier this week, according to Bloomberg BNA. That could signal changes ahead for the payment system created under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Innovative models could work better and might stop doctors from leaving the profession mid-career because of burnout, Price said, while speaking before the first voting meeting of the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technology Advisory Committee, which was created under MACRA, Bloomberg reported.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon before entering politics, has been critical of the move from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care, especially Medicare’s mandatory bundled payment initiatives. His appointment by President Donald Trump to head of HHS has raised questions about the future of MACRA, which at his confirmation hearings Price said must be implemented in “a way that is easy to understand, minimizes burden and is fair to all affected providers.”

Following his confirmation, some physician groups urged him to ease the requirements for the new physician reimbursement system for Medicare and even to make it voluntary.

Models being considered by the committee are intended to move doctors away from the traditional fee-for-service model. Price told the committee doctors should offer ideas about what payment model would work better for their practices. In particular, Price said he wanted to hear from doctors in rural and underserved areas who think the current system is designed for large practices with administrative help to meet its quality reporting requirements.

RELATED: 10 things to know about new HHS secretary Tom Price