2016-12-16 16:37:14 UTC

Dec. 19, 2016

CMS should extend the payment program transition period and include meaningful GI measures to improve patient outcomes.

AGA submitted comments to CMS on the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule, which implements the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs). MACRA changes Medicare quality reporting programs and transitions physicians to a more value-based payment system.

Similar to our comments on the proposed rule, AGA stressed that the agency needs to provide physicians with flexibility in MACRA implementation to allow physicians time to be educated on the regulation and decide which path they will take in this new payment system. We are encouraged that CMS is providing physicians with more options for reporting in 2017 and is not instituting a “one-size fits all” approach to reporting in the first year of MACRA. However, we asked that the transition period be extended to 2018 to allow physicians to continue preparing for the changes they will need, and requested that CMS further simplify the scoring and reporting under MIPS, since the legislation remains complicated.

We expressed concern regarding the availability of specialty-specific measures, especially in gastroenterology, since CMS eliminated important GI measures, such as hepatitis B and C, and IBD measures. Given that the quality component carries the most weight in the first few years of the program, AGA remains concerned that gastroenterologists are lacking specialty-specific measures that are relevant and meaningful to their patients. We will continue to advocate for inclusion of appropriate and meaningful GI measures that truly improve patient outcomes.

MACRA Education

As we continue to monitor the implementation of MACRA, AGA will provide you with education materials to ensure you are prepared for the changes in 2017. Register for an AGA webinar with Megan A. Adams, MD, JD, chair-elect of the AGA Quality Measures Committee, on Preparing for MIPS, which will provide guidance on how to prepare for participation in the MIPS program on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. ET. 

Visit the AGA Community to watch additional webinars, including Introduction to MACRA and the use of the AGA Digestive Health Recognition Program™ for 2016 PQRS reporting, and join the discussion. 

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