Skip to main content


To Demystify MACRA, Start with Compliance

By Debra Shute  
   November 03, 2016

Two weeks after CMS released the final rule, medical groups continue to sort out what this massive payment change means to them.

MACRA may not hold the same mystery it did earlier this year, now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released nearly 2,400 pages of details in its final rule, but practices are still clamoring for information, says Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

For its 2016 annual conference, held earlier this week in San Francisco, MGMA created a track of concurrent sessions titled "Under the MACRAscope." All of the sessions had been filled to fire-regulation capacity on Tuesday, when Gilberg answered a few questions. The following transcript has been edited.

HealthLeaders Media: What are you hearing from MGMA members now that the final rule has dropped? Is there a sense of relief? Anxiety?

Gilberg: The rule alleviated the immediate pressure that would have otherwise occurred if CMS finalized its proposed rule, which would have been like flipping a switch on January 1 to a whole new program.

MACRA Final Rule Eases Pay Changes, Initially

There's a huge improvement in the final rule, at least for 2017. CMS significantly lowered the bar to avoid a penalty in 2017. All you have to do is send in one quality measure for one patient one time in 2017 and you will not get the 4% Merit-Based Payment Incentive System (MIPS) penalty in 2019.

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.