Posts Tagged ‘APM’

4 Ways CMS 2018 Quality Payment Program Supports ‘Patients Over Paperwork’ Pledge

November 6th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

“Patients Over Paperwork” is committed to removing regulatory obstacles that get in the way of providers spending time with patients.

Year 2 of the CMS Quality Payment Program promises continued flexibility and reduced provider burden, according to the program’s final rule with comment issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last week.

The Quality Payment Program (QPP), established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), is a quality payment incentive program for physicians and other eligible clinicians that rewards value and outcomes in one of two ways: through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

A QPP Year 2 fact sheet issued by CMS highlights 2018 changes for providers under the QPP’s MIPS and APM tracks. The Year 2 fact sheet noted that stakeholder feedback helped to shape policies for QPP Year 2, and that  “CMS is continuing many of its transition year policies while introducing modest changes.”

In keeping with the federal payor’s recently launched “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative, QPP Year 2 reflects the following changes:

    • More options for small practices (groups of 15 or fewer clinicians). Options include exclusions for individual MIPS-eligible clinicians or groups with less than or equal to $90,000 in Part B allowed charges or less than or equal to 200 Part B beneficiaries, opportunities to earn additional points, and the choice to form or join a virtual group.
    • Addresses extreme and uncontrollable circumstances, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, for both the 2017 transition year and the 2018 MIPS performance period, by offering hardship exception applications and limited exemptions.
    • Includes virtual groups as another participation option for Year 2. A virtual group is a combination of two more taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) made up of solo practitioners and groups of 10 or fewer eligible clinicians who come together ‘virtually’ (no matter specialty or location) to participate in MIPS for a performance period of a year. A CMS Virtual Groups Toolkit provides more information, including the election process to become a virtual group.
    • Makes it easier for clinicians to qualify for incentive payments by participating in Advanced APMs that begin or end in the middle of a year. Updated QPP policies for 2018 further encourage and reward participation in APMs in Medicare.
  • CMS describes its Patients Over Paperwork effort as “a cross-cutting, collaborative process that evaluates and streamlines regulations with a goal to reduce unnecessary burden, increase efficiencies and improve the beneficiary experience. This effort emphasizes a commitment to removing regulatory obstacles that get in the way of providers spending time with patients.”

    Providers, Patients Outline Healthcare Priorities to New HHS Secretary

    February 16th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

    As HHS secretary Tom Price begins his tenure, the ACA and physician reimbursement are on constituents' minds.

    As HHS secretary Tom Price begins his tenure, the ACA and physician reimbursement are on constituents’ minds.

    As Rep. Tom Price settles into his new role as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), organizations representing physician practices, nurses, patient groups and actuaries are making their healthcare priorities known to the newly confirmed administrator.

    Concerns range from the future of the Affordable Care Act, which President Trump pledged to repeal in a January 2017 executive order, to specifics of new physician reimbursement programs resulting from MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015).

    In a news release from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, America’s leading nursing organizations called on the Trump administration and Congress to prioritize patient health and the patient-provider relationship in any health reform proposals. Representing over 3.5 million nurses, the organizations affirmed their shared commitment to advancing patient-centered healthcare and healthcare policies that reflect five key areas ranging from ensuring patients access to healthcare with affordable coverage options regardless of preexisting conditions to creating greater efficiency in the Medicare system.

    On the patient side, I Am Essential, a coalition of more than 200 patient groups, asked Price to preserve key ObamaCare protections, including one that guarantees coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

    In its letter, the coalition said certain ObamaCare provisions have provided improved access to care to millions living with chronic and serious health conditions.

    “While it is not a perfect law,” the letter stated, “The ACA has provided health coverage and improved access to care for tens of millions of Americans living with chronic and serious health conditions, many of whom were previously uninsured or underinsured. If they lose access and coverage for even one day, their health and well-being can be immediately jeopardized.”

    The letter concluded with the following statement: “As you make any changes, we urge you not to go back on the promise of affordable and quality care and treatment for everyone, especially those living with chronic and serious health conditions.”

    Meanwhile, a letter from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), which represents more than 18,000 U.S. healthcare organizations in which 385,000 physicians practice, asked the new administrator to “significantly reduce the regulatory burden on physician practices and improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery in this country.”

    Focused on the federal payor’s new Quality Payment Program resulting from MACRA, the MGMA requested the following from Price, who worked in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon for nearly twenty years prior to launching his political career:

    • A reduction in the cost and reporting burden of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS);
    • A careful review of the eligible Advanced Alternate Payment Program (APM) risk standard and contend there is significant inherent risk in moving from fee-for-service to risk-bearing arrangements, including substantial investment and operational costs, as well as misaligned financial incentives between the payment systems; and
    • Legislative relief from the Federal Physician Self-Referral Law, which MGMA referred to as “a regulatory monster of mind-numbing complexity.”

    MGMA represents physician groups of all sizes, types, structures and specialties, and has members in every major healthcare system in the nation.

    And finally, the American Academy of Actuaries released three new issue briefs examining a number of key public policy considerations policymakers should weigh when evaluating specific proposals for reforming or replacing the Affordable Care Act.

    The three papers, which address high-risk pools, selling health insurance across state lines, and association health plans, are available on the academy’s site.

    “Differences in a reform’s structure can have wide implications for stakeholders and for how it interacts with other reforms that have been or may be adopted,” said Academy Senior Health Fellow Cori Uccello. “For example, high-risk pools can be structured in different ways, with different implications for access to coverage, premiums, and government spending. Further, how regulatory authority is defined for both cross-state insurance sales and association health plans affects whether insurers would compete on a level playing field.”

    Physician Supplemental QRUR: Episode-Specific Patient-Level Data Tells Story of High Utilizers

    February 7th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

    QRUR reports provide a mirror into physicians’ cost and quality performance under MACRA.

    As year one of MACRA unfolds, healthcare providers deterred by security hurdles associated with CMS Enterprise Portal access may want to reconsider. The wealth of aggregate quality and cost performance data available through the portal is well worth the trouble of accessing it, advises William Holding, consultant with PDA, Inc.

    Specifically, Quality Resource and Utilization Reports (QRURs) downloadable from the portal are essential tools for physician practices that hope to succeed on MACRA-defined reimbursement paths, Holding said—even practices equipped with robust internal reporting systems.

    “This is the same system that accountable care organizations (ACOs) use, and that CMS uses for many other things, so it’s a good idea to get past those barriers,” he explained during Physician MACRA Preparation: Using QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize Your Performance, a February 2017 webinar now available for replay.

    Originally designed for CMS’s value-based modifier, QRURs are good indicators of future cost performance under MACRA, via either Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), where most physician practices are expected to fall initially, or Alternate Payment Models (APMs), he said.

    After providing an overview of MIPS and APMs, including five essential prerequisites to MACRA preparation, Holding delved into the quality and cost metrics contained in QRURs, from aggregate data in the main report to detailed tables rich with patient-specific information.

    The main QRUR report illustrates where a physician practice falls in relation to other practices on the overall composite for cost and quality. The QRUR’s Quality portion shows scores for a series of domains, including effective clinical care and patient experience, which offer a great window into how a practice might perform with different selected measures in MIPS.

    Next, QRUR cost performance indicates per capita costs for attributed beneficiaries, which will remain a cost measure in MIPS.

    Drilling down, Holding characterized seven associated QRUR downloads—including one table on individual eligible professional performance on the 2015 PQRS Measures—as even more useful than the QRURs themselves.

    And finally, he termed the downloadable supplemental QRUR “a very powerful tool” that drills down to the beneficiary level, providing a snapshot of some of the highest cost events occurring among a practice’s patients.

    “For high utilizers, for specific episodes, you can drill right down to the patient to try and understand the story. What’s happening to your patient when they’re not in your practice, and what can you do about it?” said Holding.

    Having presented the available reports, Holding described four key benefits of using QRUR downloads, including as a priority setting tool, and then detailed the myriad of ways QRURs can be analyzed to improve MIPS performance.

    However, Holding stressed, even physician practices with the most sophisticated reporting structures will not thrive under MACRA without the right team or culture of provider support in place. He closed his presentation with a formula for determining investment in performance improvement activities and a five-step plan for MACRA preparation.

    Listen to an interview with William Holding on the use of QRURs to determine a physician practice’s highest value referral pathways.

    At MACRA Launch, Think Like a MIPS Top Performer

    January 9th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan
    Change this caption to something else.

    A focus on quality activities like influenza vaccines is a good starting point for MIPS performance improvement.

    With the opening of the first Quality Payment Program performance period on January 1, 2017, many eligible healthcare providers have picked their MACRA participation pace and begun to collect performance data. In certain cases, Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) top performers and MIPS exceptional performers potentially could fare better than Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) practices. Here, Barry Allison, chief information officer, the Center for Primary Care, describes some ways clinicians can aspire toward MIPS top performer or exceptional performer status.

    According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a MIPS top performer must be one standard deviation point above the mean, as far as the total cost of care for the patient as well as for the quality metrics reported to CMS. This illustrates why it is critical to look at your organization’s Quality and Resource Use Report (QRUR) data. From looking at our own QRUR data internally, we want to be in the 90th percentile or higher for things like annual flu shots, influenza vaccines, Pneumovax® vaccinations, or Prevnar® vaccinations in conjunction with the Pneumovax 23.

    These are very key points. For most EHRs and registries, if you look at quality, that 60 percent that CMS will review in MACRA’s first year, those are the activities where you should aim to report at the high end. I would recommend anywhere from 88 percent and upwards, but my minimum would be reporting on 90 percent of areas where you can use technology to deploy a short message service (SMS) outreach campaign for influenza vaccines or similar tasks.

    You want to make sure that in the areas considered low hanging fruit, that you’re either rendering those services, or if you don’t render those types of services, you direct the patient toward a Medicare provider or provider that does render those services and from whom Medicare receives that information.

    Let’s take flu shots, for example. Even though your particular practice may not render that service, you should refer your patients somewhere that does administer the shots. You want to refer that patient somewhere where you know that claim will be filed to Medicare, because through their attribution methodology, you’re still that patient’s primary care provider. You still get credit right now for that quality element, even though you may not have administered the shot.

    Source: Physician Chronic Care Management Reimbursement: Roadmap to MIPS Success Under MACRA

    http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Home-Visits-for-Clinically-Complex-Patients-Targeting-Transitional-Care-for-Maximum-Outcomes-and-ROI_p_5180.html

    Physician Chronic Care Management Reimbursement: Roadmap to MIPS Success Under MACRA describes how early adoption of Medicare’s CCM Reimbursement program enhanced the Center’s MACRA-readiness, laying the foundation for success under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) path.

    Value-Based Reimbursement Dominates Healthcare in 2016 and 11 More Industry Trends

    December 15th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

    MACRA-Ready: 9 percent said they would participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment (APM) model in 2017.

    ACA anxieties aside, value-based reimbursement wielded the most influence over the business of healthcare in 2016, according to the thirteenth annual industry trends snapshot by the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

    Value-based reimbursement also topped the list of lucrative business development areas for 18 percent of respondents, HIN’s industry survey found, followed by chronic care management (14 percent), integration of behavioral healthcare and primary care (11 percent), and telehealth (11 percent).

    Sixty-nine percent of respondents consider themselves well positioned to succeed under value-based reimbursement models in the year to come. Additionally, 60 percent report that 2016 was a better year business-wise than 2015.

    However, preoccupation with new models of care delivery and payment did not eliminate worry over the post-election fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal or replace. At least 10 percent referenced either the election, ACA uncertainty or the incoming presidential administration when identifying the greatest business challenges they expect to face in 2017.

    The annual Healthcare Trends & Forecasts survey, administered in November 2016, captured year-end feedback from more than 100 hospitals, health plans, physician organizations, long-term care providers and others, pinning down the trends impacting the industry in the year to come.

    A Look Back: Best and Worst Business Decisions of 2016

    Community partnerships, training for integrated care and value-based payments, and participation in CMS Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) were among the most successful business decisions of 2016, respondents reported. However, many cited lack of preparation for bundled payments and care delivery transformation, lack of communication, and lack of focus on quality as regrettable 2016 business decisions.

    This 2017 roadmap for healthcare also identified the following metrics:

    • Respondents’ pace of MACRA participation for 2017:
      • Eight percent will test MACRA’s Quality Payment Program by submitting partial data in 2017 without fear of negative payment adjustments;
      • Six percent will participate for part of the calendar year;
      • Nine percent said they would participate for the full calendar year; and
      • Nine percent said they would participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment (APM) model in 2017.
    • Growth, hiring and recruitment, and sales and services were the three business areas most impacted by the 2016 economic climate.
    • Healthcare wearables, palliative care and health insurance exchanges had the least impact on respondents’ 2016 business operations.

    Download the complimentary HINtelligence report, “Healthcare Trends for 2017: ACA Anxieties Aside, Majority Well-Positioned for Value-Based Reimbursement.

    Infographic: Which Physician Quality Payment Program Is Right for You?

    September 19th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

    For Medicare physicians and groups that will be impacted by the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment Program (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) requirements, it is important to remember that planning for the Quality Payment Program is more nuanced than simply ‘selecting a track,’ according to a new infographic by Able Health.

    To help make understanding the two Quality Payment Program tracks a bit easier, Able Health’s infographic helps physicians and medical groups determine which track may be the most appropriate to prepare for in 2017.

    No matter which level of participation physician practices choose for the first Quality Payment Program performance period beginning January 1, 2017, CMS’s “Pick Your Pace” announcement means practices should proactively prepare for the impact of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) on physician quality reporting and reimbursement.

    MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System delivers a veritable MACRA toolkit for physician practices, with dozens of tips and strategies that lay the groundwork for reimbursement under Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), expected to begin in 2017 and one of two payment paths Medicare will offer to practices.

    Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

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    5 Ways to Keep Pace with MACRA Momentum

    September 15th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

    carecompactsIn a nod to the wide diversity of physician practices, the recent “Pick Your Pace” announcement by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) clarifies the timing of reporting for year one of the Quality Payment Program and offers eligible physicians and other clinicians multiple options for participation.

    But whatever participation level a practice elects for 2017, there are many ways eligible providers can proactively prepare for MACRA’s ultimate impact on physician quality reporting and reimbursement prior to November 1, 2016, the date by which CMS has said it will issue the MACRA final rule.

    Eric Levin, director of strategic services, McKesson, offered this advice for physician practices to prepare for Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), one of two payment paths CMS will offer to practices.

    • First, make certain you are successfully participating in any Medicare Quality and electronic health record (EHR) programs, which would include the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Meaningful Use, and the Patient-Centered Medical Home.
    • Next, try and factor the alternative payment model (APM) participation bonus into your risk-based payment model adoption strategy to see if that might be something you can qualify for, as the rewards can be significantly higher under the APM track.
    • Third, make sure you know which track your organization is going to seek. Explore APMs; if you can do one, great. If not, then MIPS can still provide a relatively high incentive.
    • Next, start educating providers, employers, nurses, staff members, on what the payment track is going to be, what’s going to be measured, and what the outcomes will be like as well.
    • Finally, stay very close to CMS. Check their Web site, subscribe for e-mail updates and check their Twitter feed for anything that’s changed, for any proposed MACRA rules that might become final, so that you are aware of and can make any changes as needed.
    • Source: MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System

      http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Post-Acute-Care-Trends-Cross-Setting-Collaborations-to-Align-Clinical-Standards-and-Provider-Demands_p_5149.html

      MACRA Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for the MIPS Merit-Based Incentive Payment System delivers a veritable MACRA toolkit for physician practices, with dozens of tips and strategies that lay the groundwork for reimbursement under Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), expected to begin in 2017 and one of two payment paths Medicare will offer to practices.

    CMS to Physicians: 3 Things You Really Need to Know About MACRA

    June 20th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

    It is expected that most physician practices will opt for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under new MACRA-mandated reimbursement strategies.

    It is expected that most physician practices will opt for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under new MACRA-mandated reimbursement strategies.

    While digesting the implications of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) can be an understandable distraction for physicians, the goal of the MACRA program is to return the focus to patient care, not spend time learning a new program, emphasized CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt to members of the American Medical Association during the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago last week.

    Early in Slavitt’s comments, available in their entirety in a June 2016 post in the CMS blog, he posed the following two questions to physicians: What do you really need to know about the MACRA program? And what new sets of requirements are there to participate?

    At the outset of his explanation, Slavitt emphasized Medicare will still pay for services as it always has, but every physician and other participating clinicians will have the opportunity to be paid more for better care and for making investments that support patients—like having a staff member follow up with patients at home.

    As the AMA, AAFP and other physician support organizations have done, CMS will provide comprehensive MACRA documentation, Slavitt assured the association. “We will, of course, provide information in as much or as little detail as is helpful. For those who like to read computer manuals end-to-end, there is of course the 900-page proposed rule complete with every detail about how the regulation and the law is proposed to work. But, for most people, who do not need to see every scenario and how each element of the formula works, there are webinars, in-person meetings, fact sheets, and web portals that will bring all the information to suit various needs.”

    Slavitt then outlined three immediate features of the program designed as improvements over Medicare’s existing payment system:

    • First, MACRA sunsets three disjointed programs. If you participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value Modifier, and the Meaningful Use program, your life just got simpler, as they are replaced with a single, aligned Quality Payment Program, which will reduce reporting requirements, eliminate duplication, and reduce the number of measures. For those who participate in MACRA Alternative Payment Models, those requirements are reduced further or eliminated.
    • Second, it also reduces the combined possible downward adjustment of 9 percent that is occurring today from the three programs to a maximum of 4 percent in the first year of the Quality Payment Program. The program is designed to build up over the course of several years, with more modest financial impacts in the first year when the vast majority of physicians are expected to be in the MIPS part of the program.
    • Third, while the Merit-Based Incentive portion of the law is designed to be budget neutral in general, there are new opportunities for additional bonuses. In MIPS, in addition to the 4 percent positive payment adjustment, there is the potential for much higher payments through $500 million in funding over six years. Physicians earn a 5 percent lump sum bonus for participating in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model.

    Under the current proposed timing, the first physician reporting isn’t due until early 2018 for the first performance period in 2017, Slavitt said. Off-the-shelf tools like Certified EHRs and clinical data registries can provide complete capabilities, but other options exist as well, including most types of reporting that a physician is doing today.

    If CMS can get data automatically or through another source, it will do so, he stated, before moving on to MACRA implementation and priorities.

    Editor’s Note: To briefly outline MACRA and advise on physician practice focus for the remainder of 2016 to avoid reimbursement penalties in 2017 based on the MACRA proposed rule, the Healthcare Intelligence Network will hold a 45-minute webinar on July 14, 2016: The New Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for MACRA’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.

    ACOs: MSSP Commitment Hinges on MACRA Advanced APM Bonus Eligibility

    June 2nd, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

    ACO

    A new NAACOS report polls ACOs on operating costs, MACRA and risk readiness.

    More than half—56 percent—of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) indicated they would leave the MSSP program if their ACOs were not eligible for the 5 percent Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) bonus under MACRA, according to a May 2016 survey by the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS).

    A third of ACOs said they would stay in the MSSP program even if deemed ineligible for the bonus, the NAACOS survey found.

    The Alternative Payment Model is one of two paths for participation in the quality improvement programs included in the MACRA legislation for eligible professionals; the other is the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

    Currently, MSSP Track 1, a one-sided payment model, is not among the models that would qualify for the APM track—which CMS calls “Advanced APMs”—under the proposed MACRA rule; however, the MSSP Tracks 2 and 3, Next Generation, and Pioneer ACO programs, which all require downside risk, would qualify as APMs.

    Approximately 411 MSSP ACOs, or 95 percent, participate in Track 1 of the program, according to April 2016 data from CMS.

    All APM qualifying participants will receive a 5 percent lump sum bonus on their Medicare payments for 2019 through 2024. This bonus will be in addition to the incentive paid through existing contracts with the qualified APM (e.g., MSSP) demonstration program, etc.

    Beginning in 2026, these ACOs will qualify for a 0.75 percent increase in their payments each year.

    In other findings, the NAACOS survey also determined the following:

    • More than half of respondents (51 percent) describe their ongoing ACO operational costs as very significant;
    • The average total ACO operating costs for all respondents is $1.6 million per year, but the cost difference is significant between single or multi-ACOs, with single ACOs averaging just under $2 million and multi-ACOs averaging almost $1 million per year.
    • If required by CMS to take on downside risk, 43 percent said they would leave the MSSP program and about a third would stay (33 percent).
    • Over three quarters of the ACO respondents (84 percent) said they would be ready for downside risk within the next six years, with 44 percent of those even ready as soon as one to three years.

    Are You MACRA-Ready? Physician Groups Prep Members for Medicare Payment Modernization

    May 16th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

    Physician groups digested the 962-page MACRA notice of proposed rule-making in order to distill the notice for their members.

    As they digest the HHS’s momentous proposal to modernize how Medicare provider payments are tied to the cost and quality of patient care, physician organizations are assembling arsenals of educational tools to de-mystify MACRA.

    The federal government’s first step in implementing certain provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was detailed in an April 2016 announcement.

    Just nine days after that bulletin, the AAFP arranged a town hall meeting for its members with two high-ranking CMS officials to discuss the law that will greatly influence how physicians are paid. Comments provided by CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt via conference call are detailed here.

    While the HHS window to receive feedback on the proposal remains open through June 27, 2016, the AMA has created an extensive set of online resources to support physician preparations for a post-MACRA Medicare. The resources include a guide to physician-focused payment models, key points of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and five things providers can do now to prepare for the legislation, among other resources, according to a May 2016 press release.

    “The core policy elements in MACRA are surfacing in other public and private insurance programs, so understanding these policies will be essential for most physician practices,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD.

    The AMA’s MACRA support tools were announced in conjunction with the release of its new interactive module on practicing value-based care authored by Grace Terrell, MD, an internal medicine physician and president of Cornerstone Health Care, who shares the proven steps her clinic used to focus on patients at the center of care.

    The value-based care module is the latest in the AMA’s STEPS Forward™ collection of physician-developed practice improvement strategies.

    Also readying its membership for MACRA is the AAFP, which last week launched a comprehensive member communication and education effort related to the proposed legislation. The AAFP’s MACRA Ready site is a one-stop shop filled with resources family physicians can use right now such as the following:

    • A timeline of important MACRA dates;
    • A list of acronyms to help digest the alphabet soup associated with MACRA’s complicated regulations;
    • A “MACRA in a Minute” 60-second overview video;
    • A deep-dive review of what value-based payment means to family physicians;
    • and much more.

    In announcing the MACRA tools, AAFP President Wanda Filer, MD, MB, told family physicians that the academy’s MACRA communication plan “is designed to help simplify the transition and provide the guidance that you will need to realize the benefits of MACRA and value-based payments.”

    A recent AAFP survey indicated that some 40 percent of family physicians already were involved in some kind of value-based payment system, she noted.

    As she related the history of MACRA, Dr. Filer reminded members that the legislation not only repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) but also established an annual positive or flat-fee payment for the next 10 years as well as a two-track program (the MIPS, and Alternative Payment Models, referred to as APMs) for calculating Medicare payments beginning in 2019.