NCQA calls on feds to make MACRA reporting easier

Seema Verma speaking at press conference
The NCQA has proposed changes to a proposed rule on MACRA in a letter to CMS' Seema Verma. (

The National Committee for Quality Assurance wants to see the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services make quality reporting easier for patient-centered medical homes.

In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the accreditor suggested a change in the agency’s proposed rule for MACRA to further reduce the quality reporting burden on clinicians. Currently NCQA- recognized patient-centered medical homes and patient-centered specialty practices receive what’s called auto-credit for improvement activities—one of four different categories of reporting under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in MACRA.

The NCQA wants to see the same kind of auto-credit in the advancing care information category, which measures how clinicians use health information technology to improve patient care, what was formerly known as Meaningful Use.


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RELATED: CMS releases updated proposed rule for MACRA, eases burden on small and rural practices

The proposal would mean clinicians wouldn’t have to do any extra work to get full credit in that category, Joe Castiglione, a member of the NCQA’s public policy team, wrote in a blog post.

“We don’t think clinicians should have to do the same work twice,” Castiglione said. “This would be a truly meaningful way to reduce burden on clinicians who want to participate in MIPS and begin the transition to value-based payment.”

RELATED: The challenges and opportunities of MACRA's virtual groups

In the letter, the NCQA offered other comments on the proposed MACRA rule, including its endorsement of the plan to add virtual groups to the Medicare payment program. “This is a key step toward helping small practices advance toward accountable, team-based, patient-centered care models,” the organization wrote, urging CMS to provide bonus points as incentive for clinicians to join virtual groups and encourage, rather than prohibit, low-volume clinicians’ participation.

Overall, the 1,058-page proposed rule (PDF) released in June provides a regulatory reprieve for physicians who participate in MACRA. CMS is taking comments until Aug. 18 on the proposed rule before the agency finalizes the program for 2018.

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