Preparing for upcoming Medicare changes? Tools to help your practice

Troy Parks , News Writer

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is slated to release its Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule by Nov. 1. While the program does not affect Medicare payments until 2019, physicians need to prepare for the changes now. To help your practice prepare for this historic change, the AMA has been developing a collection of valuable online tools and resources.

The new AMA Payment Model Evaluator helps you determine how MACRA will impact your practice. After answering questions and following the steps—which should take ten minutes or less—you’ll receive a brief assessment as well as relevant educational and actionable resources to help you navigate the new regulations.

Once you’ve filled out the online assessment in the Payment Model Evaluator, you will receive guidance as to which payment model might best fit your practice under proposed rules, so that you can begin to assess the impact.

The aim of the new tool is to ease the transition to MACRA. You’ve heard all about the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APM), but now is the time to see how they may fit the characteristics of your own practice. 

The tool holds MACRA education resources including:

  • MACRA 101: The Basics
  • Introduction to Value-Based Care
  • Information on the MIPS and APMs
  • Implementation & Next Steps
  • MACRA Timeline

An important aspect of the Payment Model Evaluator is that it will be updated to reflect future regulatory changes.

Also, the tool is free to both physicians and practice administrators. To create a personalized assessment, all you need is an AMA account to sign in and you can access the tool and other available educational resources on Medicare payment reform

The AMA STEPS Forward™ collection of practice improvement strategies has grown to 42 modules including a variety of educational modules to help your practice implement team-based careelectronic health recordsvalue-based careteam documentation, and many others in collaboration with the Transforming Clinical Practices Initiative.

Accurate reporting on quality metrics will be critical under the new Medicare payment system, and new resources in the STEPS Forward collection provide a high-level understanding of the quality programs and show you ways to maximize your preparedness for quality reporting.

Several podcasts are available now online that all have to do with the coming changes to the Medicare payment system. An AMA sponsored series on ReachMD, “Inside Medicare’s New Payment System,” offers many audio resources to help you learn about the coming changes, including:

  • Implementing MACRA: The AMA’s Keys to Advancing Opportunities, Avoiding Pitfalls
  • APMs in Cancer Care: The Patient-Centered Oncology Payment Model
  • The Future of Medicare Payment Reform: Perspectives on MACRA with CMS's Andy Slavitt
  • The Rise of Specialist-Driven Alternative Payment Models in American Medicine
  • Thoughts on Physician Advocacy and Payment Reform with AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD

The AMA is also planning two educational sessions, available both in-person and online, to help physicians prepare for MACRA implementation. The first will be held Thursday, Dec. 1 in Atlanta, and the second will be held Saturday, Dec. 10 in San Francisco. More information will soon be available.  

Watch AMA Wire® for more on what’s happening around the MACRA final rule and other resources that can help you navigate the new Medicare payment system.