How independent practices can succeed with MACRA, MIPS and APMs in 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has deemed 2017 as the transitional year for independent physicians to comply with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). During 2017, there are a number of ways that independent practices can choose to participate in the program and remain compliant.

Reporting for the MACRA was officially kickstarted in January. The results of the reporting that begins in 2017 will be reflected in the payments that are issued beginning in 2019. This allows for the tracking of a composite performance score under which all physicians will be graded under MACRA.

The CMS Quality Payment Program, enacted by MACRA, enables independent providers to focus more on providing high quality care for their patients. The program offers two tracks for independent practices to choose from:

  • Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) or
  • The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)

The MIPS track consolidates current fee-for-service Medicare programs (Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System, and Value-Based Payment Modifier) into a single program. When you choose the MIPS track, you also have the option to “Pick Your Pace” which, in the words of CMS, provides “an on-ramp to participating.”

Participating in MACRA in 2017

What are the options for independent practices to be able to participate in MACRA in 2017?

  • You can test the Quality Payment Program. As an independent provider, you simply have to submit some data from after January 1, 2017 to avoid the negative payment adjustment. This option exists to ease providers into greater participation in 2018 and 2019.
  • You can participate for part of the calendar year, for a reduced number of days. You will still qualify for a small payment if you submit data on how your practice is using technology and what you are doing to improve your quality of care. As a Clinical EHR participant, you can demonstrate that you are taking steps to improve your patient care while streamlining and optimizing your clinical workflow.
  • You can participate for the full calendar year. To take advantage of this option, you would have been ready to fully participate in the Quality Payment Program for a full calendar year as of January 1, 2017.
  • You can participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017. With this option, you are excluded from the MIPS reporting required in the other options and you are given the opportunity to qualify for a 5 percent annual bonus.

We want to help ensure that you are MACRA compliant in 2017. Contact us to learn more about your options!