ACC leaders discuss MACRA, population health management

Since the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) last year, cardiologists and other physicians have wondered how the legislation would change their reimbursement. Under MACRA, providers will be held responsible for delivering high quality care and lowering costs.

Leaders from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) wrote about MACRA and the value-based care in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which was published online on Oct. 4.

ACC president Richard A. Chazal, MD, ACC board of trustees member Paul N. Casale, MD, and chair of the ACC's population health policy and health promotion committee Gerald R. Martin, MD, were the authors of the article.

They noted that MACRA was a major discussion point at the ACC’s board of trustees meeting in August. Based on those talks and from other input, the ACC recently submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about MACRA and many parts of the legislation that have not been finalized.

The authors mentioned that the proposed rule has positives such as rewarding clinicians and health systems for reporting high-priority quality measures through a qualified registry such as the ACC’s Pinnacle and diabetes collaborative registries. Physicians will also be given incentives for participating in advanced payment models. In addition, the rule provides more options for scoring on electronic health record use.

During the next few months, the ACC plans on working with CMS and other medical societies to educate cardiologists, practices and health systems about MACRA, according to the authors. The ACC is also asking CMS to provide opportunities to participate in advanced payment models and reduce the merit-based incentive payment system reporting thresholds for small practices.

Members of the board of trustees also discussed population health management. The authors said the ACC plans on promoting the prevention of cardiovascular disease and placing more of an emphasis on population health management to help members succeed in a value-based system.

“We need to move from providing care for individual patients to also thinking more broadly about populations of patients and how to minimize their risks before major illness occurs,” the authors wrote. “Change is never easy, but cardiology as a profession has long been on the forefront of change and innovation. It is the obligation of cardiovascular specialists to continue to strive toward providing the best care possible to our patients. It is the obligation of the ACC to facilitate members’ ability to do so in these challenging times.”