Looking Ahead to MACRA in 2018

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After Thanksgiving, it might be tempting to coast through Christmas and New Year’s and into 2018. Like many other temptations, this is one to resist. We’ve shared in our last few posts how you should be preparing for billing and beyond in 2018, and today we’re addressing one of physicians’ favorite topics: MACRA.

Before you call it a day and settle in by the fire with a fortified glass of eggnog, this is what we’d like you to consider in terms of MACRA in 2018:

How does the Cost category affect your practice?

In 2017, CMS weighted the Resource Use/Cost category at zero; in the 2019 reporting period, however, Cost will comprise 30% of the total MIPS score. 2018 is a time to fully understand this Cost category and how it affects your practice before it becomes extremely important in 2019.

What’s your Final Score and how will it affect you?

As physicians’ Final Scores become available on Physician Compare, it will be increasingly important to understand how your score might affect your practice. Many physicians may not understand that their individual Final Score will follow them no matter where they work, which can have implications for hiring and career prospects. The Final Score may also affect patient volumes as patients use the scores to help them make better-informed choices regarding their healthcare.

Should you consider a virtual group?

Virtual groups are offered as a reporting option by CMS to allow multiple small practices to pool data to get statistically significant measures of quality. These groups can help increase scores and provide better data. If you’re a small practice, this might be something to consider; however, creating a virtual group comes with challenges.

In an article for Physicians’ Practice, Michael Abrams, co-founder and managing partner of St. Louis-based consulting firm Numerof & Associates, says, “If you are a small practice and want to join another small practice or even a little larger practice, how do you make that happen?” asked Abrams. “Put an ad in the paper? And how can you be assured that if there is one bad actor in the group, you don’t all pay a penalty for it? There are a lot of uncertainties involved in that process.”

Whether you’re feeling like you’re on top of MACRA or you’re still getting your feet under you, the new year is a good time to make sure you understand the ins and outs so you can be compliant and successful. As always, we’re here to help you sort it all out.

Okay, back to the eggnog!

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