Posted in Policy

Handy tools for navigating the MACRA final rule

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
Handy tools for navigating the MACRA final rule

At 1,653 pages, the final rule on the Quality Payment Program released last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) isn’t exactly light reading, which is slightly ironic considering the document is the agency’s blueprint for easing the burdens of bureaucracy and red tape that many physicians say are sapping their time and energy.

But the document covers a lot of ground, including a number of changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP), an initiative created under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) to reward physicians for delivering better-value care and more successful patient outcomes, rather than compensating them based on the traditional fee-for-service model.

Fortunately, CMS has made available a couple of useful resources to help providers and other healthcare stakeholders understand and navigate the final rule.

A 26-page fact sheet outlines changes for the second year of QPP, including options added for small practices, such as allowing solo practitioners and small practices the option of forming or joining a Virtual Group to participate with other practices. The fact sheet spells out what the changes mean for clinicians in 2017.

Another section highlights steps CMS is taking to increase participation in Advanced Payment Models (APMs), while a chart offers a side-by-side comparison of year one and year two policies.

CMS also has published an infographic designed to make it easier for providers to understand the 60 health IT certification criteria in the 2015 Edition. The 60 criteria are divided into eight categories – including electronic exchange, clinical processes, care coordination, and patient engagement – laid out as icons on an interactive wheel. Readers who click on an icon are taken to a list of criteria for that category.