Now that MACRA is underway for most physicians, it’s important to start thinking about strategies for succeeding in value-based arrangements. Independent physicians have always been at the forefront of changes in healthcare and we expect MACRA to be no different.
Understandably, many physicians have anxiety about implementing changes and making strategic investments for this new program, with only 50% of physicians reporting that they expect to be ready to participate in MACRA in 2017.
Though half of all physicians have trepidations, independent physicians have greater awareness about MACRA than any other physician group and also have the most to gain from the transition to value-based care.
So what are some of the ways they can continue to stay ahead of the pack in 2017?
1. Consider joining a virtual group
Independent physicians have an opportunity to join together with physicians in other small practices to collaborate and pool resources but still remain independent under MACRA’s virtual groups. These groups are beneficial to independent physicians because they encourage and facilitate collaboration, create administrative efficiencies, and can serve as an incubator for process improvements.
We recently worked to move the implementation of these groups forward so that independent practices can begin to work together as soon as possible. Beside physician partners, the US Government Accountability Office recently released a report that mentions health IT partners as other crucial allies for enabling small practices to succeed.
2. Take advantage of MACRA’s transition year
To ease the transition to MACRA for physicians, CMS incorporated several different options for reporting in 2017, essentially making 2017 a transition year with minimum requirements for participation. Those options range from submit little to no information to full participation in the program.
We suggest practices be proactive and submit as much information as possible. Practices could also use this provisional first year of the program to prepare to qualify for the Advanced APM track for MACRA, which gives practices an opportunity to receive a 5% annual bonus, or experiment with process changes, and make necessary changes to infrastructure to have a strong foundation for positive adjustments in 2017 and beyond.
3. Find technology that supports quality care
Technology will play an important role in providing quality-based care. Technology tools, like a Clinical EHR, can enable physicians to accurately aggregate and calculate clinical and quality improvement data. Technology that is ready to meet the demands of value-based care should also have features that allow for collaborative, longitudinal care.
4. Stay on top of health policy changes
It remains to be seen whether or not MACRA will undergo significant changes under the forthcoming presidency, but either way, it’s important to stay on top of policy changes. Fortunately, physicians can utilize our webinar calendar for upcoming policy-related webinars and subscribe to our Resource Series to let us do all the work for you.