Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.
New Tool to Check MIPS Participation Status
Physicians can use a new online tool to enter their National Provider Identifier (NPI) to find out their participation status in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) this year, the AMA reports. The new tool can help physicians check whether they meet the MIPS participation threshold as an individual, and can also be used by physicians who part of group practices are. Some physicians are exempt individually, but if their tax identification number (TIN) reports as a group, they may be included in MIPS. By using the tool and entering their NPI, physicians can find out whether they are included in MIPS in the event that their TIN decides to participate as a group. The website gives physicians their status for each TIN in which they practice.
CMS Seeking Public Input on ACA
On Thursday, CMS issued a press release asking the public for input on reducing the regulatory burdens of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS states says it's trying to create a "more flexible, streamlined approach" to the regulatory structure of the individual and small group markets. CMS' goal is identifying and eliminating regulations that are outdated, ineffective, impose costs that exceed benefits, or create inconsistencies that otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies. "We are looking for valuable feedback on how to change existing regulations in ways that put patients first, promote greater consumer choice, enhance affordability and return more control over healthcare to the States," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma, in the press release.
AMA Pushing Drug Makers for Price Transparency
This weekend, numerous doctor groups will ask the American Medical Association (AMA) policymaking House of Delegates to back regulations that call for more transparency in drug pricing. The doctor groups, from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, backed a resolution, released last month, stating their beliefs that advertising drug prices would help educate consumers. This would allow consumers to better understand the cost of drugs at a time when costs are straining employer and government healthcare budgets, according to the resolution.
"We are joining with the New England delegation to bring this policy for consideration before the AMA because we believe that pricing transparency in [direct to consumer] advertising will help avoid surprise costs for patients and will hold manufacturers accountable for the prices that they assign to the medicines they make, said Dr. Henry Dorkin, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society to Forbes.
Quote of the Week
"The relationship between physicians and PAs has to evolve along with the evolution of the healthcare system if we together have any hope of effectively meeting the needs of our patients. We must evolve together to remove barriers to effective team practice and function, and give the practice team the ability structure itself in the most effective and efficient manner." - Stephen H. Hanson, PA-C on PAs and physicians working together.