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Top 10 MACRA Considerations for Providers

By Christopher Cheney  
   May 10, 2017

Most physician practices are running a race against time to implement Medicare's value-based payment system, survey data indicates. They have a lot to think about as they go about it.

As Medicare's reviled Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement fades to extinction, its replacement, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, is posing a new set of challenges.

This week Black Book Research identified 10 of the top MACRA challenges that physician practices are facing. The survey is based on responses from 8,845 physician practices collected from February to April.

1. MIPS compliance technology: Physician practices are seeking technological solutions to help them achieve reporting compliance, with 77% of practices that have at least three clinicians mulling the purchase of Merit-Based Incentive Payment System Compliance Technology Solutions (MIPS) software.

2. Electronic Health Record (EHR) optimization: MACRA appears to be a golden opportunity for the largest EHR vendors. For the top eight EHR companies, 83% of their physician-practice users reported working to upgrade their system for MIPS compliance. At physician practices with smaller EHR vendor partners, however, 72% reported they were not working with their vendor partner to upgrade their system for MIPS compliance.

3. Consultant opportunity: The EHR capabilities required for participation in MIPS or Alternative Payment Models (APMs) represent a business opportunity for EHR consultants. Most (80%) of physician practices report that conducting a technology inventory is key to strategic planning for a value-based payment system.

4. Data wrangling: Taming data to conform with the reporting requirements of MIPS and APMs is daunting for many physician practices. At practices with at least four clinicians, 81% of physicians report being unable to align their data with the new reporting requirements.

5. Paying for procrastination: Physician practices that have not developed an in-house strategy for participating in MIPS or an APM are looking for outsourcing options. Of these practice procrastinators, 80% are planning to find turnkey software or a MACRA-administration partner this year.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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