84% of med practices unclear on MACRA

Feb. 28, 2017
If the team at your medical practice is a little in the dark about what is required to comply with MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP), you are not alone. 84% of independent physicians and staff aren’t sure either, according to a recent survey by Kareo, a provider of clinical and business management software for independent medical practices.

MACRA replaced the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), which, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), “threatened clinicians participating in Medicare with potential payment cliffs for 13 years.” MACRA outlines a new program for physician reimbursement that replaces fee-for-service with value-based payments under the QPP.

The survey was conducted after the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act final rule was released in October. The proposed rule was announced spring 2016, followed by a comment period. Industry groups, providers, and vendors responded with feedback, some of which was incorporated into the rule. The final rule came out on Oct. 14, and it stated that the reporting period would begin Jan. 1, 2017 for those who want to fully participate and try to get a positive payment adjustment. That left only two-and-a-half months for eligible clinicians and vendors to get ready.

“Our survey highlighted that independent practices want to comply, but they are struggling with the complexity and aggressive timing of the rule,” said Dan Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Kareo.

When asked if they understood what MACRA requires of their practice, 41% of survey respondents said they were not sure, and 43% said they disagreed or strongly disagreed (meaning they did not have a handle on it). Only 4% said they strongly agreed that they knew what MACRA required of them.

Similar results were seen when asked about the impact on revenue. In this case, almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents weren’t sure if MACRA would reduce reimbursement. When asked about whether MACRA would increase reporting burdens, most were sure it would. Over 60% said the reporting requirements would increase for their practice.

“Independent practitioners want to stay independent so they want to participate in programs like MACRA and avoid possible penalties. But they need help to do it,” said Rodrigues.

On a positive note, 85% said of respondents from medical practices said they will participate in MACRA to the best of their ability.

And you know what they say: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

To learn more about MACRA directly from CMS, go to https://qpp.cms.gov/.

Source: Kareo