Last weekend was a busy one for those trying to parse the new MACRA rule released on Friday. At 2,202 pages, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act rule wasn't exactly beach reading, and it gave the health IT community plenty to talk about on social media and in policy statements.
The dust is still settling, but it appears that early reaction to the rule was mostly positive. Healthcare organizations praised the CMS for being responsive to concerns they had raised during the comment period leading up to the rule's finalization. In fact, about 80 percent of the 2,000+ pages are comments CMS received and its responses.
The American Medical Association was pleased with the permanent elimination of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. "The new law," according to the AMA's press release, "gives many physicians the opportunity to be rewarded for the improvements they make to their practices and for delivering high-quality, high-value care to Medicare patients."
Other features that drew favorable reactions included:
- The rule's overarching theme that improving the organization and payment models for medical care must stress quality over quantity.
- Greater reporting flexibility for clinicians, as well as support for innovation in the delivery of care.
- The formal adoption of a transition year during 2017, which makes major changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) reporting requirements, and provides a longer time frame for those transitioning to the QPP.
- Emphasis on helping clinicians educate themselves about the rule.
- Easing of the policy defining the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM), which will allow additional programs to quality.
But the rule is not without its detractors. "It's disappointing that the flexibility provided for quality reporting in 2017 largely disappears in 2018 and beyond," the Medical Group Management Association said in a policy statement.
Other organizations complained that the nominal risk standard defining the Advanced APM remains too high.
Want to know more? Healthcare Dive has a great breakdown of the rule changes you need to know. And for even more information on the new rule, click here.
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