CMS: More Flexibility for MACRA Reporting Program Compliance

In response to numerous stakeholder requests for more time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its plan to offer providers more flexibility in complying with the reporting periods tied to MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015). CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced the plan in a blog post on Thursday that also confirmed that the MACRA final rule will be released by November 1, 2016.

The plans released Thursday address the Quality Payment Program, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, and allow providers to choose their own pace and level at which they comply with the Merit-based Incentive Payment Program (MIPS) and Advanced Payment Models.

“During 2017, eligible physicians and other clinicians will have multiple options for participation. Choosing one of these options would ensure you do not receive a negative payment adjustment in 2019. These options and other supporting details will be described fully in the final rule,” Slavitt writes.

Option 1:
As long as a provider submits some data, they can avoid a penalty (or a negative reduction in Medicare reimbursement payments in 2019). This option is intended to ensure provider reporting systems are functioning properly.

Option 2:
This option allows practices to participate for just a part of the calendar year, meaning their “first performance period could begin later than January 1, 2017 and your practice could still qualify for a small positive payment adjustment. For example, if you submit information for part of the calendar year for quality measures, how your practice uses technology, and what improvement activities your practice is undertaking, you could qualify for a small positive payment adjustment.”

Option 3:
Practices that are ready on January 1 would participate in the Quality Payment Program for a full calendar year. “For example,” explains Slavitt, “if you submit information for the entire year on quality measures, how your practice uses technology, and what improvement activities your practice is undertaking, you could qualify for a modest positive payment adjustment.”

Option 4:
This stage allows providers to jump straight into an Advanced Alternative Payment Model  such as Medicare Shared Savings Track 2 or 3 in 2017. Participants that receive enough of their Medicare payments or see enough of their Medicare patients through the Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017 would qualify for a five percent incentive payment in 2019.

Click here to read the full blog post.

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