Yet, CMS is preparing complex changes before ensuring accuracy of existing systems, Wheatley says.
The MGMA-ACMPE and AAMC were among the dozens of physician groups who filed comments on CMS's proposed rule to revise payment policies under the physician fee schedule, for 2014. Physician groups expect CMS to issue the rules sometime in November. Whether their comments have any clout, physician groups believe they can only guess.
"I think the challenge for CMS is that they are trying to build a policy that adapts to a wide variety of specialties; multi-specialty centers, urban centers, and remote locations. And they are trying to have a single practice policy," says Wheatley. "That's why physician policies are so difficult to put together, because of the variety of physician practices, and a lot of variability."
Regardless of their constituencies, MGMA-ACMPE and AAMC are unanimous in their criticism of the CMS website used to evaluate doctors and their practices. Both groups have reported that many physicians and practices have expressed concerns about inaccurate information on Physician Compare, which they say is difficult to correct and confuses beneficiaries.
When a physician identifies inaccurate information on Physician Compare, it often takes months to be corrected, Brennan of MGMA-ACMPE says.
"We're not opposed to Medicare or CMS putting this information out there," says Brennan. "But when it's not done properly, it ends up creating more negative repercussions. Without ensuring accuracy of the information, Physician Compare is missing the mark."