The past 12 months were chock full of changes in health care. From a new physician payment system, a growing number of data breaches, and the increasing importance of health care technology, this past year was nothing if not eventful.
As 2018 draws near, Physicians Practice spoke with health care experts to find out what practices can look forward to in the coming year, and more importantly, how they can prepare.
MACRA is here to stay
Despite the outcry, criticism, and concerns expressed with CMS' Quality Payment Program (QPP), better known for the law which made it a reality, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), experts do not see the program going away any time soon.
In fact, practices will be required to more fully participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP) during 2018.
"Practices still need to be cognizant of the quality and cost of care that they incur for their assigned patient population. They need to continue to do well in the [Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program] and look into any alternative payment models that come along," says Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).
The new year will bring a new challenge for physicians regarding MACRA, and more specifically, MIPS. For the first time, CMS will include cost as a component of a physician's MIPS score. "It's important that practices understand that the attribution calculations will kick-in January 1, and then practices will be held accountable for the entire year. Cost may be just a token 10 percent, but it represents a mindset change," says Gilberg.
Like MGMA, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is worried physicians may not realize the changes 2018 is bringing to MACRA and when those changes take effect. "For example, March 15, 2018, is an important date, as that is the deadline to report 2017 data to avoid a negative payment adjustment in 2019," says AAFP President Michael Munger, MD.
In addition to the cost factor, practices will be required to submit six quality measures for 60 percent of patients who qualify for each measure, with one being an outcomes measure, according to the MACRA final rule passed in November.