ACC president comments on final MACRA ruling

Shortly after the release of final ruling on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) Oct. 14, American College of Cardiology (ACC) president Richard A. Chazal, MD, commented on the legislation.

As part of MACRA, lawmakers and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) replaced the Sustainable Growth Rate with the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models for paying physicians who treat Medicare patients.

The rules will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

Physicians and practices will not be required to participate in the Quality Payment Program in 2017, but clinicians who are eligible for MIPS must report on at least one measure or activity for 90 days next year or they will have reimbursement reduced by 4 percent.

“This final rule demonstrates the complexity of moving to a value-based payment system under Medicare; however, we are encouraged to see that CMS has made several changes in the final rule based on comments by the clinician community,” Chazal said in a news release. “The college urges CMS to continue providing effective education and assistance to clinicians and their practices to ensure that this transition does not interfere with their ability to focus on their most important job: providing patient-centered care.”

On June 27, Chazal sent a 35-page letter to CMS administrator Andy Slavitt detailing the ACC’s comments on the proposed MACRA regulations. Chazal was also the co-author of an editorial in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology Oct. 4 in which ACC leaders wrote about the positive and negatives of the legislation.

“It is clear CMS listened to stakeholders and has finalized policies such as the Pick Your Pace approach to reporting under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, technical assistance to small and rural practices and additional clarity under the Advanced Alternative Payment Model pathway,” Chazal said in the Oct. 14 news release. “We will continue to examine the complete rule in more detail to determine where CMS has incorporated additional flexibility and support for practicing clinicians. We look forward to continued discussions between CMS and the clinician community as these policies are implemented.”