Providers should assume status quo on MACRA

With the confirmation of Tom Price as the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seemingly imminent, healthcare providers are being advised to continue their efforts to comply with the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) as currently configured. Data collected in 2017 could still affect 2019 payments, so waiting to see what happens under a new administration is probably not wise. An expert from Industry trade group Medical Group Management Association urges providers to continue with their program.

Price defends the role of physicians

It’s hard to get a solid read on what Price truly thinks of MACRA. Known as a strong advocate for doctors, it seems likely he has definite opinions about how value-based care affects physicians as the industry transitions away from fee-for-service reimbursement. He has spoken out strongly against bundled payments, as just one example.

What does Price’s track record show?

Price voted in favor of MACRA in 2015, as did most of his colleagues from both parties in Congress. But he has spoken out against reporting requirements he says are a burden on providers. As a member of the Congressional Doctors Caucus in Congress, he and fellow physicians offered strong warnings that MACRA should not “interfere with the physician-patient relationship.” After the Final Rule last fall, he indicated that “significant challenges remain.” Price briefly outlined his intentions in the voluminous question-and-answer document he submitted to Congress as part of his confirmation process:

“If confirmed, I plan to direct the CMS administrator to ensure that the program is structured to achieve its quality and budgetary goals, while ensuring that patients and the providers who care for them are at the center of our reform efforts.”

Price will have a full plate when he gets to his new position. There’s no telling what his first actions will be and whether he’ll take a wholesale approach to change or start to work around the edges to implement his vision. In the meantime, there are plenty of excellent resources for providers to access as they begin their path, most notably the CMS website section dedicated to this topic and the American Medical Association.

Providers will continue to need help navigating clinical and administrative complexities as the industry evolves. ABILITY can be a steady partner during a time of profound change and uncertainty. Check out our resources here.