Sept. 9, 2016

New MACRA schedule allows you to pick the pace for your participation.

While not quite a delay, CMS recently announced changes in the implementation of certain requirements under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) that will allow physicians to choose the pace of participation for the first performance period that begins Jan. 1, 2017.  

AGA applauds the agency for providing physicians with the time needed to be able to comply with and succeed under the new payment system. This added flexibility is good news for gastroenterologists and your patients. 

AGA Advocacy Works!
Since the release of the MACRA proposed rule, AGA has been advocating to Congress and CMS that the agency provide physicians with more flexibility to comply with the law and have opportunities to succeed in the new payment system. 

In our comment letter to CMS, AGA asked that the agency delay the start date of the QPP to give physicians time to prepare for the changes since the final rule will not be issued until Nov. 1, 2016.  AGA, along with a majority of medical specialty and state medical societies, also sent a letter to Acting CMS Administrator Andrew Slavitt stating that “the start date [of the Quality Payment Program] should be moved back so that physicians have time to prepare [and] have adequate notice of final program requirements and thresholds,” among other concerns.  

We still need your help — join AGA Virtual Advocacy Day on Sept. 16 to ensure Congress continues to hear the voice of GI about MACRA. 

MACRA Implementation Changes
CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced that the agency will give physicians four reporting options:

Option 1:  A new test option allows physicians to report some data after Jan. 1, 2017. This option will give providers time to prepare for additional reporting beginning in 2018.

Option 2: Providers can submit data to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) for a reduced period, which has not been defined by CMS, and not the full calendar year, as was originally proposed.  This option will allow the first performance period to begin later than Jan. 1, 2017 and physicians may potentially earn a small bonus.

Option 3: Providers can submit data to the QPP for a full calendar year starting Jan. 1, 2017, which would include quality measures, certified health information technology and clinical practice improvement activities. Providers that are prepared to report for a full year are eligible for positive payment adjustments.

Option 4: Participate in advanced alternative payment models (APMs) and be eligible for a 5 percent bonus payment.

AGA is pleased that CMS is providing physicians with more flexible options for reporting and that, most importantly, no physician will be penalized in 2019 for their reporting in 2017.  

Read Administrator Slavitt’s Sept. 8 statement for more information.