MACRA Relief Announced by CMS

Andrew Slavitt, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced in a blog posting on September 8 that the agency would heed concerns expressed by the American Medical Association and other physician organizations about the proposed start date for performance reporting by physicians under the new payment systems created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA.  In its draft regulation, CMS proposed to require physicians to begin reporting under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or through the advanced alternative payment model (APM) option on January 1, 2017, even though final regulations promulgating MACRA’s sweeping payment system changes would not be issued until the fall. MSNJ was among those filing objections to the reporting and implementation time-line.

CMS announced that the final MACRA regulation will allow practices to “pick your pace” and  will exempt physicians from any risk of penalties if they choose one of three different MIPS reporting options in 2017, in addition to the option of participating in an advanced APM:

  • Full-year reporting that begins on January 1;
  • Partial year reporting for a reduced number of days; and
  • A “test” option under which physicians can report minimal amounts of data.

Physicians who report in 2017 may be eligible for bonus payments in 2019, depending on which option they choose.  Those who opt for full-year reporting will be eligible to receive a “modest positive payment adjustment;” those who choose partial year reporting will be eligible for a “small positive payment adjustment.”  Physicians who choose the “test” option will not be subject to any payment adjustments.  Qualified participants in advanced APMs will be eligible for 5 percent incentive payments in 2019. Read AMA’s statement. Read more.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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