Close out 2017 on strong note: Avoid future Medicare pay penalties

Barbara L. McAneny, MD , Former President

It’s that time of the year—a time for twinkling lights, festive parties and Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) participation! To meet the 2017 reporting deadline, you must report on at least one patient and one measure by Dec. 31 and submit to Medicare no later than Feb. 28—if you are submitting claims—to avoid a Medicare payment penalty in 2019.

No small practice is the same when it comes to MACRA participation, and the AMA has made it easier for small practices to personalize their approach through our online resource center, with step-by-step instructions and a video to guide you through the process. If you’re seeking additional context, I also encourage you to listen to this podcast that provides additional MACRA tips specific to small practices.

With just a small investment of time, you can select a quality measure to report on that makes sense for your practice based on your patient population or the procedures you perform most frequently. Additionally, if you are part of a practice with 15 or fewer clinicians, you can access support for selecting and reporting on appropriate measures to satisfy your requirements under MIPS. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers free, customized technical assistance through the Small, Underserved and Rural Support initiative.

While you 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. Set yourself up for long-term success by keeping the following in mind:

  • Engage in continuous quality improvement.
  • Optimize your health information technology.
  • Evaluate options for joining an Advanced Alternative Payment Model.

Stay tuned for an overview of the 2018 Quality Payment Program rule and resources to help you successfully navigate the program next year. In the meantime, explore AMA’s MACRA Page to learn more about the organization’s involvement in Medicare payment reform policy and for viewpoints on the various components of MACRA.