Reminder: Dec. 31 Is Deadline to Avoid Medicare Payment Penalty

The Medicare reimbursement system has changed under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) passed by Congress in 2015. This means you have until Dec. 31, 2017, to take a few simple steps to avoid a Medicare payment penalty in 2019.

2017 is the first year of reporting under MACRA’s Quality Payment Program. For those who were not prepared for full participation this year, reporting quality information on just one patient and one measure in 2017 will allow physicians to avoid a Medicare payment penalty in 2019.

You can select a quality measure to report on that makes sense for your practice based on your patient population or the procedures performed most frequently. Additionally, practices with 15 or fewer clinicians can access support for selecting and reporting on appropriate measures to satisfy requirements under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offers free, customized technical assistance through the Small, Underserved and Rural Support initiative.

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) also offers extensive resources for all practice types on its MACRA page on our website. The AMA launched its “one patient, one measure, no penalty” campaign, which offers a step-by-step guide to completing the process. The AMA has also produced a MACRA podcast series on ReachMD, including an episode with tips for small practices.

Medicare’s new Quality Payment Program (QPP) remains a work in progress. Thanks to the work of the NCMS, AMA, the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) and other stakeholders, it appears that CMS is listening to physicians’ suggestions for improvement, and the program taking shape appears to be one that will be less burdensome for doctors.

While physicians may be ready to take only a small step for the 2017 performance year by reporting on one measure for one patient, learning now to report through one measure this year will set you up for being successful next year.


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