CMS is continuing to lighten the MACRA load after smaller and rural providers complained that their paucity of capital and other resources make complying with the reporting requirements too difficult.
Its latest proposed move would permit the exemption of small providers participating in the program by increasing the low-volume threshold to $90,000 or less in Medicare Part B charges or 200 or fewer Medicare patients annually. The original threshold was $30,000 in Medicare Part B charges or 100 Medicare patients. The agency believes that the move would let about 134,000 clinicians stay out of MIPS.
The proposal follows more than 800,000 clinicians in May being told that they will not be evaluated under the MIPS program
MACRA will replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Formula with a 0.5% annual rate increase through 2019. After that, CMS says, physicians are encouraged to shift to one of two Quality Payment Programs: 1) Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or 2): Alternative Payment Model (APM).
Most physicians are expected to enter the MIPS.
“We’ve heard the concerns that too many quality programs, technology requirements and measures get between the doctor and the patient,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “That’s why we’re taking a hard look at reducing burdens. By proposing this rule, we aim to improve Medicare by helping doctors and clinicians concentrate on caring for their patients rather than filling out paperwork. CMS will continue to listen and take actionable steps toward alleviating burdens and improving health outcomes for all Americans that we serve.”
American Medical Association President David Barbe, M.D., praised CMS. “Not all physicians and their practices were ready to make the leap, and many faced daunting challenges. This flexible approach will give physicians more options to participate in MACRA and takes into consideration the diversity of medical practices throughout the country.”
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