ACC Legislative Conference 2016: Are You MACRA Ready?

With the new Medicare payment program, known as MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015), set to launch next year, medical professionals have expressed concerns about how to navigate the complex system. These concerns were slightly alleviated when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Sept. 9 that clinicians can pick their pace for participating in MACRA’s Quality Payment Program in 2017. While there is some flexibility next year, clinicians need to begin preparing for implementation now.

Several sessions at the ACC’s 2016 Legislative Conference were designed to educate cardiovascular professionals about MACRA and help them get ready.

During his presidential address, Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, stressed how MACRA is the solution to curbing high health care costs and transitioning from volume to value. “This is a team-based sport,” said Chazal on how each member of the cardiovascular care team plays a role in the new quality-based system.

A “MACRA 101” session emphasized the importance of early preparation and having physicians lead the transition. Robert Shor, MD, FACC, immediate past chair of the Board of Governors, encouraged attendees to take the following action:

  • Learn: Get up-to-speed on what is ahead and what your practice or system is already doing
  • Educate: Help your practice and/or system leadership understand the new system to ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction
  • Prepare: Understand your gaps, what you are going to measure and the information you are going to collect in the future
  • Proceed: If you participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, decide what you are going to do in each category
  • Stay Informed: Refer to for program updates

During a session on “Defining Quality and Value Under MACRA”, Jean Moody-Williams, RN, MPP, deputy director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS, explained how the Agency is focusing on incentives, care delivery and information sharing to achieve the Triple Aim of better care, smarter spending and healthier people. She underscored that CMS has listened closely to the health care community’s concerns and will make changes to the final rule, expected in November.

The medical community asked Congress to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate and create a new Medicare payment system for almost two decades. There is agreement that achieving perfect implementation of the MACRA law will require ongoing policy refinements. While on Capitol Hill, ACC members urged legislators to exercise careful oversight of MACRA implementation to ensure CMS is interfacing with medical societies and practices to effectively manage the transition.

ACC 2016 Legislative Conference

Don’t miss a special Facebook Live interview with C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, and Pascha Schafer, MD, FACC, on everything you need to know about MACRA.

Visit the MACRA Information Hub for the latest information and resources. Get additional coverage of the 2016 Legislative Conference.

Keywords: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.), Health Care Costs, Health Expenditures, Information Dissemination, Leadership, Medicaid, Medicare, Physicians, Societies, Medical, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015

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