MACRA 2018 Proposed Rule Reflects New CMS Flexibility

Guidehouse's Christopher Stanley, M.D. via HealthLeaders Media

The 2018 proposed rule for MACRA, Medicare's new payment system for physicians, is consistent with the relatively flexible regulatory approach at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Trump administration. Next year's proposed changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP), which were announced June 20, feature continuation of "pick your pace" for the new payment system's data reporting and expands exemption of physicians from mandatory participation.

The proposed rule eases reporting requirements significantly, but small and rural practices still face daunting QPP implementation challenges, Guidehouse’s Chris Stanley, M.D. said. "Readiness will still require investment in technology such as healthcare IT, people such as care coordinators and data support, and process such as establishing a Virtual Group. The proposed rule does not give a pass to rural providers — it simply opens the door that they will still need to walk through."

The most significant proposed changes for 2018 intend to ease the administrative burden for physicians, especially those who are in small practices and rural settings.

Christopher Stanley, M.D., Guidehouse via HealthLeaders Media

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