AAFP recommends CMS simplify MACRA for primary care physicians

MACRA, a reporting program that streamlines current fee-for-service Medicare programs (Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System, and Value-Based Payment Modifier) into a single program, went into effect January of this year. However, now that MACRA is underway, one of the biggest physicians groups is calling for more streamlined rules for primary care physicians.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has submitted a letter to CMS suggesting ways they can simplify MACRA implementation requirements for providers. They raised concerns regarding severe MACRA requirements and the negative effect current policy could have on patient care.

“The AAFP sees a strong and definite need for CMS to step back and reconsider the current approaches to MACRA, which we view as overly complex and burdensome to physicians.”

AAFP even included ways to simplify current requirements and improve MACRA implementation for both CMS and physicians:

  • Remove the financial risk standards from regulatory definitions of Medical Home Model.
  • Remove arbitrary size restrictions limiting AAPM participation on Medical Home Models.
  • Eliminate all documentation guidelines for evaluation and management codes for primary care physicians in both the MIPS and AAPM pathways.
  • Jettison the complicated and entirely uncalled-for MIPS APM category.
  • Eliminate administrative claims population health measures.
  • Use consistent terms from proposed to final rulemaking to avoid confusion in the physician community.

MACRA meant to reduce burdens on practices

The final MACRA ruling was meant to greatly reduce the burden on small and independent practices. While drafting MACRA, CMS received a great deal of feedback from physicians on the potential impact of this new reimbursement program. They later announced changes in the final rule reflecting that the feedback was heard; one of these changes being the ability to join virtual groups. In the future (as early as 2018), solo and small practices of 10 or fewer clinicians will have the option to combine MIPS reporting by forming “virtual groups”

Still, it wasn’t enough, AAFP pushes that the new changes may have done more harm to provider productivity than good. AAFP members argue that the current MACRA implementation policy only adds to the intricacy of Medicare payment, quality improvement, and performance measurement programs.

Independent physicians that feel overwhelmed by the demands of MACRA can lean on partners like Elation to help them navigate payment reform. We are committed to equipping you with resources like our health policy blog, as well as providing 24/7 health policy support and personalized webinars to answer any of your questions along the way.

With our clinical first EHR, you can always be sure that you have an EHR system equipped with powerful quality care measures and intuitive reporting tools. Combined with our health policy support, physicians can put all their attention on strengthening the physician-patient relationship and enabling phenomenal care for all.

Contact us to learn more about Elation’s Clinical EHR and what it can do for your practice.