MACRA Final Rule – Is Your Practice Ready?

By John Lynn  |  November 7, 2016

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule has been published. We’re all still sorting through the fine print of the 2,398 page final rule to see what has changed. (This 24 page executive summary is much easier to digest). That’s going to take some time, but at a high level we know the major changes that were put into the MACRA final rule.

Back in July, we warned small practices that they would be impacted by MACRA. That’s still the case in the MACRA final rule, but CMS did offer some relief in 2017 for those participating in MACRA. The government is calling it "Pick Your Pace" (#PickYourPace on Twitter) where there are three different options available for small practices to participate in MACRA in 2017.

The "Pick Your Pace" changes are going to provide some much needed relief for many small practices in 2017. However, that doesn’t mean a small practice should not worry about MACRA until 2018. If you choose the wait and see approach to MACRA, then you’re going to wonder why MACRA is so hard in 2018.

This challenge might be familiar to some practices. Many practices that haven’t participated in PQRS, Meaningful Use, and the Value-Based Modifier looked at MACRA as an ominous challenge. Considering their lack of participation in these previous programs, MACRA was a massive hill to climb. However, for those who have been participating in PQRS, Meaningful Use, and the Value-Based Modifier, MACRA really isn’t that bad. In fact, in many ways it was easier than those three separate programs.

Avoiding full participation in MACRA in 2017—and this is possible thanks to "Pick Your Pace"—will lead to the same massive hill to climb in 2018. However, those who fully participate in MACRA in 2017 will be well positioned to succeed as MACRA gets more difficult in 2018.

Plus, it’s worth mentioning that there are some bonuses available to those who fully participate in MACRA in 2017. Does anyone see MACRA going away? I don’t. So, if you’re going to have to participate eventually, you might as well participate now and take the MACRA bonuses.

The MACRA final rule did create some expanded exceptions for small practices and did create some expanded opportunities for more people to participate in the Advanced APM piece of MACRA.

If you want more details on these changes, along with the details of "Pick Your Pace" and other important MACRA requirements, join me on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT) for my free webinar outlining the MACRA final rule. Register now!

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