CMS now says it will allow doctors participating in MACRA (Medicare’s physician Quality Payment Program) four options to comply with the first year of the proposed payment system and avoid penalties, which are set to hit in 2019. Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt laid out the different pathways in a blog post. The new program is expected to start January 1 and physicians may do any one of the following:

  1. Choose to report a full year of data and be eligible to receive the full bonus depending on their performance under the law;
  2. Report all the MIPS-required data for less than a full year and receive a smaller bonus.
  3. Report just some data for part of the year, and while they won’t get a bonus, they won’t get penalized either; or
  4. Completely avoid reporting MIPS data by participating in an advanced alternative payment model.

Slavitt said more details on possible pathways are forthcoming.

  • A bipartisan group in Congress sent a letter asking CMS to consider easing into the scheduled January 2017 start date. They stopped short of asking for a delay in the start of MACRA; however, they pushed for flexibility to ensure a smooth transition to the new payment system. Know more about MACRA by Steven Lash.