Does My Practice Still Need To Prepare For MACRA?
Lawmakers changed the way Medicare physicians and other health care professionals are paid
when they passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015.
MACRA resulted in the Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP), which is designed to move
physicians from a fee-for- service program to a value-based payment system.
The actions that physicians take in 2017 will determine what they get paid in 2019. The Centers for Medicare, Medicaid Services’ goal is to tie 90 percent of all Medicare fee-for- service payments to quality or value by the end of 2018. The QPP replaced the Medicare SGR, and it is a zero-sum gain
program – which means that there will be winners and losers. Physicians could see their pay
increase or decrease by as much as four percent in 2019, depending on what they do in 2017.
The QPP established two paths for physicians to take, including the Merit-based Incentive
Payment Program (MIPS), which is a modified fee-for- service system, and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs), which is a track for physicians who are already participating in one of the eligible advanced alternative payment models. It is crucial for physicians to figure out how to fulfill their QPP reporting requirements to avoid any cuts in pay in 2019 – as well as determining whether they will go above and beyond the minimum requirements to position themselves for a pay increase in 2019.
Finally, it is highly unlikely that MACRA/MIPS will be revised or repealed in the foreseeable
Sidney Welch is the chair of Health Care Innovation at Polsinelli PC. Sidney counsels physicians, physician practices, and health care technology clients in transactional, regulatory, administrative law, and litigation matters on a national basis. She serves in leadership roles for the ABA Health Law Section, the America Health Lawyers Association, and the American Society of Medical Association Counsel.
Sidney has a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, a master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and a law degree from Samford University. It is also worth noting that she has written a regular feature for MAG’s quarterly Journal since 2008.