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    MACRA proposed rule brings new decisions

    Details provided on meaningful use program replacement

    Bob GattyBob GattyWashingtonUrologists and other physicians who serve Medicare patients face some new decisions now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed new regulations implementing last year’s fee schedule reform law, while also replacing the existing meaningful use program with a more flexible approach to technology and electronic health records.

    Also by Bob Gatty: CMS halts PSA quality measure—for now

    “We have more work to do, but we are committed to implementing this important legislation and creating a health care system that works better for doctors, patients, and taxpayers alike,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, referring to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which reforms the Medicare physician payment system and ends the troubling pay cut crises that occurred year after year.

    “We look forward to listening and learning from the public on our proposal for how to advance that goal,” Burwell said.

    Rule streamlines payment programs

    The proposed rule, issued April 27, streamlines a patchwork of programs that are designed to measure the value and quality of care provided by doctors and other clinicians. Some physicians participate in alternative payment models (APMs) such as accountable care organizations, the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, and the Medicare Shared Savings Program, and most participate in such programs as the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value-Based Payment Modifier Program, and the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.

    MACRA streamlined these programs into a single framework to help physicians transition from volume-based payments to those based on value. The new rule implements those changes by establishing the Quality Payment Program, giving physicians two options for Medicare reimbursement. They can participate either in the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) or Advanced APMs.

    Also see: States attempt to limit importance of MOC 

    “We are working with the medical community to advance our collective vision for Medicare payment reform,” said Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer at CMS. “By proposing a flexible, rather than a one-size-fits-all program, we are attempting to reflect how doctors and other clinicians deliver care and give them the opportunity to participate in a way that is best for them, their practice, and their patients.”

    Next - CMS: Most Medicare clinicians will initially participate through MIPS

    Bob Gatty
    Bob Gatty, a former congressional aide, covers news from Washington for Urology Times.

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