Ready for MACRA? Most specialty practices aren't, survey says

By John Murphy, MDLinx
Published September 6, 2017

Key Takeaways

One hundred percent of specialty providers who responded to a recent survey reported they have “not yet fully grasped” the impact of MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) on their practices. As many as 24% haven’t even started preparing for it, according to the survey undertaken by Integra Connect, a health care technology firm focused on value-based payment services, based in West Palm Beach, FL.

Most respondents (71%) to the survey characterized their preparedness for MACRA as: "I am learning, but have a way to go." In addition, more than half (56%) of all respondents said they expect to modify their practices to achieve health care cost savings under MACRA. To do so, as many as 40% are trying a “do-it-yourself” approach using their current resources and tools.

“The findings indicate that while specialty practices understand that MACRA presents a substantial clinical and financial opportunity, few are well-positioned to realize optimal benefits due to unpreparedness and limited investment in capabilities to manage attributed patient populations holistically and deliver both cost and quality improvements,” Integra Connect stated in a news release.

The MACRA Quality Payment Program officially went into effect on January 1, 2017. It eliminated the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for determining provider payments and replaced it with programs intended to focus on quality and value. It established two new tracks for reimbursement: Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). For physicians who participate in 2017, the first payment adjustments based on performance will start in 2019.

But putting MACRA into operation is challenging for providers and their practices. Respondents to the survey identified three barriers to successfully implementing MIPS: 23% said they don’t have the right people/skills; 20% don’t understand the requirements; and 19% pointed to the cultural shift required to assume accountability for patients.

Additionally, half (51%) of all respondents said their current electronic medical record (EMR) system is not geared up for value-based care payment programs.

The survey included responses representing about 800 specialty physicians, 58% from oncology practices and 42% from urology practices.

For a closer look at the survey findings, visit the Integra Connect website.

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