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MACRA Payment Reforms Finalized

By John Commins  
   October 14, 2016

HHS says the new payment system for Medicare clinicians provides flexible options that encourage 'pick-your-pace' participation by small practices and sole practitioners. It goes into effect in January.

The federal government on Friday finalized sweeping Medicare payment reforms for clinicians that were called for under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.

The new rules, which begin on Jan. 1, 2017, and which will take years to fully implement, replace the flawed and reviled Sustainable Growth Rate funding formula and are designed to reward quality over volume in the Medicare program that serves more than 55 million people.

MACRA Final Rule Eases Pay Changes, Initially

The 2,398-page document is the end result of an arduous process that involved a months-long nationwide listening tour by officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services who met with nearly 100,000 people and compiled nearly 4,000 public comments.

"This is a landmark effort to move the healthcare system forward," CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said at a Friday teleconference.

"Transforming something of this size is something we focused on with great care. The policy we finalized is the result of the user-driven policy effort where our staff put down our pens and went into the field to hear from physicians and patients."

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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