3 steps for physician practices to succeed with MACRA

Doctor

While physicians may not be happy with the new Medicare payment system rolled out to implement MACRA, now’s the time to prepare for their practices to succeed.

Critics are taking aim at the new payment system outlined in a 2,400-page final rule released almost two weeks ago by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“MACRA--the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015--is a disaster,” writes Caroline Poplin M.D., J.D., on MedPage Today. The new system will “take the joy out of practicing medicine” without significantly improving patient outcomes or reducing costs, she predicts.

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While doctors are understandably concerned about how the complicated MACRA requirements will impact their practices, they need to establish a strategy that allows them to come out winners, writes David Chou, vice president and chief information and digital officer at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, in CIO. With MACRA, physicians will be publicly ranked against one another and could face substantial reimbursement cuts, he says.

To remain competitive, Chou says practices must take three steps to succeed under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), one of the two payment options under MACRA, which it is estimated will initially apply to more than 90 percent of eligible clinicians.

  • Establish a comprehensive chronic care management program that will allow physicians to keep high-risk patients with chronic conditions well.
  • Expand care coordination. “The ability to maintain visibility into a patient’s status and coordinate their care as they are referred and/or transition across the continuum of care will no doubt be a key area of differentiation for strong performers,” he says.
  • Improve patient engagement. That plays into three of the four categories of the MIPS score--quality, advancing care information and clinical practice improvement, he says.