MACRA Misery Loves Company and Practices Are Not Ready

MACRA’s almost here; it ain’t going anywhere. But. Guessing on recent headlines, there’s a very good chance, if you’re running your own practice that you are not ready for it. Breathe easier, misery loves company -- you’re not alone.

These are the results of a survey published by Healthcare Informatics of more than 2,000 of your peers, almost half (43 percent) claimed that they need help with their MACRA preparation needs. Even more dramatic is that another 30 percent of these fine folks said that they are not at all prepared.

On the bright side (for these folks), 27 percent said they are good to go (so, they are likely not currently miserable, and probably not great company if you’re not in that crowd).

The survey was developed and conducted by Healthcare Informatics and SERMO. (If you are interested, SERMO is a global social network for doctors—a virtual doctors’ lounge where doctors anonymously talk real-world medicine and medical crowdsource with their peers.) The goal is likely obvious, but is intended to gauge providers’ readiness for the new law designed to change how eligible Medicare physicians will be reimbursed,

For those who follow such technicalities, MACRA changes the healthcare financial reimbursement model from an outcomes-based to a value-based one. The regulation was released in October 2016 but CMS is treating the first year as a reporting year, or a transition year, and you can pick your pace of participation for this year, depending on how aggressively you want to start.

“There has been significant discussion about how MACRA would affect small practices, from the very first release of the proposed rule. A Black Book survey from last June revealed that two-thirds of high Medicare-volume doctors actually foresee the end of their independence due to the physician payment changes that will take place under MACRA since the amount of risk they would have to take on could potentially result in millions of dollars in payments made to Medicare. Many of these physicians have also previously said that they know very little about MACRA — if anything at all,” the report notes.

Additional data collected from the survey shows that only 13 percent of respondents said they participate solely in value-based payment models and 35 percent said they participate in both fee-for-service and value-based models while 52 percent said they participate solely in fee-for-service models. Also covered here, quite a few still wonder what’s to come: 47 percent said they are awaiting direction from the new administration, 33 percent said they have not made adjustments, and 20 percent said they were unsure about the future.

Healthcare Dive notes that CMS has committed $100 million over five years to help smaller practices cope with MACRA changes, but time is running out.

“Providers still have time to prepare for MACRA before it goes into full effect next year. Over the next several years, payment models introduced by MACRA will gradually increase the risk and rewards tied to reimbursement. For the approximately one-half of providers who are not currently participating in value-based payment models, that is about to change,” the Dive reports.

Scott Rupp's picture

Scott Rupp


Scott E. Rupp is a writer and an award-winning journalist focused on healthcare technology. He has worked as a public relations executive for a major electronic health record/practice management vendor, and he currently manages his own agency, millerrupp. In addition to writing for a variety of publications, Scott also offers his insights on healthcare technology and its leaders on his site, Electronic Health Reporter.

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