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Final rule on MACRA released and it’s a pleasant surprise

By Tina Colangelo, MHA  bio

CMS has finally released its long and highly anticipated final rule MACRA Quality Payment Program. News spread like wildfire as the highly anticipated final rule of CMS’s MACRA Quality Payment Program was rolled out.

The 2,398 page document shows mercy to all physicians especially those in small practices!

Everybody can breathe a sigh of relief; especially the high percentage of doctors who weren’t even aware MACRA was even coming. Though the effective date, January 1, 2017 has not changed, the 2017 date has been turned more into a transition year than a hard start date. The final rule has provided a lot of flexibility for clinicians to pick their pace. Basically, anyone who doesn’t report at all will face the 4 percent penalty.

Submitting minimally will still help you to avoid 4 percent penalty. As I said, it shows mercy.

In addition, CMS has also provided various learning materials to providers such as: a new Quality Payment Program website, outreach effort to help physicians in small practices, 15 or less.

So, what’s changed since the proposed rule back in April?

For MIPS, it’s pick your pace. I still encourage all to go full steam ahead on this and not pick slower paces. Practices that treat 2017 aggressively will benefit greatly with incentives. And let’s face it, you have to adopt this new paradigm at some point, so why not strive for more money?

Another big change in MIPS is, “Clinicians who receive a score of 70 or higher will be eligible for the exceptional performance adjustment funded from a pool of $500 million.” (Forbes,com)

Again, this gives more reason to be aggressive in 2017.

Also, nearly 1/3 of physician practices will be exempt. Originally the proposed rule set the threshold at $10,000 in Medicare charges. However, now the threshold has been set at $30,000.

More mercy.

In the proposed rule, clinicians had to report on 90% of all Medicare Part B beneficiaries. It has now been reduced to 50%. Eligible clinicians still have to report on at least 6 quality performance measures in the quality performance category.

In the Clinical Performance Improvement Activity category (CPIA) there is a reduction in the number of improvement activities. Small practices will only have to report on 1 heavy weighted or opt for two medium weighted activities.

In the Advancing Care category, final rule has reduced the number of measures from 11 to 5 to report on.

And even more shocking, the Cost Performance category now holds no weigh at all!

I feel that CMS couldn’t have made it any easier for practices of all sizes to be successful!

This doesn’t mean complacency. It means that you are given time to restructure your business and get it up to speed. I can help you with that. Contact me now.

SAVE THE DATE! Want to learn more about how MACRA’S final rule and how it will affect your medical practice? Medical Office Manager is pleased to welcome Tina Colangelo, MHA as presenter of our November 16, 2016 webinar, The MACRA Quality Payment Program: What You Need to Do Now to be Ready for January 2017! Watch for registration details coming soon. (Remember: Registration is free for premium members.)

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