Internists Talk About MACRA’s Major Impact

Panel discussion included advice about what physicians could be doing now to prepare for the new system. 

The American College of Physicians (ACP) convened a panel today to talk about how the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the new payment systems in the law will impact physicians and patients.  The panel took place during a press briefing at ACP’s Internal Medicine Meeting 2016.

“ACP was encouraged last week that the proposed rule to implement MACRA makes significant improvements in simplifying the administrative burden and introducing greater flexibility in meeting requirements of quality reporting,” said Wayne Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, president of ACP.  “ACP has been a leader in payment reform because we want payments that better align with value, rather than volume of care.”

MACRA was passed and signed into law in spring 2015.  The law ended the repeated threat of drastic cuts to Medicare physician payments while moving Medicare toward a system of value-based payments.  A proposed rule to implement the law was released on April 27.

Members of the panel were:  Riley; Bob Doherty, senior vice president, Governmental Affairs and Public Policy for ACP; Shari Erickson, ACP’s vice president, Governmental Affairs and Medical Practice; and Robert McLean, MD, FACP, a practicing physician from New Haven, Connecticut and the chair of ACP’s Medical Practice and Quality Committee. 

The panel discussed why ACP has advocated for payment reform and why they believe the movement from voume-based to value-based payments is the right direction.  This included the advocacy efforts that ACP made regarding the law and things that physicians can be doing now to help their practices get ready for the new payment system.

McLean, who testified about the MACRA law before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health late last month, provided the perspective of the practicing physician.  He brought up the overwhelming frustration that physicians already face, citing struggles with electronic health records, complicated regulations, and unhelpful data on clinical metrics.  He said if implemented carefully and correctly that MACRA could provide hope of alleviating some physician burnout.  He concluded that moving current Medicare quality reporting programs into a single, less burdensome and more flexible Quality Reporting Program will allow physicians to focus more on delivering high-quality care to their patients.

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