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What You Need To Know About MACRA Changes

There is both good news and bad news about the MACRA changes. Since the good news is quite good it makes sense to start off with it. The centers for Medicare and Medicaid or CMS announced major changes in 2017. These changes provide flexibility to avoid any penalties in 2018 based on 2017’s performance.

The bad news is that the start date is not going to be pushed back anymore so the new MACRA changes start January 1, 2017. There are also four new options regarding the level of participation in the program.

The first option is called testing the quality payment program. If you submit some data it allows you to forego a negative payment adjustment but the idea of some has not yet been defined. Anyone who takes this route will not receive a positive payment adjustment in most cases.

The second option is to participate for a portion of the calendar year. The reporting period is still the whole year but with this option, if you participate fully in the program for just under an entire year you avoid a the negative adjustment for payments. You also might qualify for small positive adjustments.

Your third option is to participate for full calendar year. This involves participating in the program as originally described in this is the best option is for any podiatrists use trying to earn the highest positive payment adjustment. It also allows them to demonstrate what CMS considers quality care.

The fourth option is participating in an advanced alternative payment model but this is not an option most podiatrists or doctors will take.

Penalties will be a lot less with all these changes. This is close to a neutral budget program and has fewer penalties so there might be less incentive money available for anyone who scores highly in this program in 2017.

These program changes have just been announced and they are going to be welcomed by anyone who is not prepared for changes. It might be frustrating for anyone who had prepared themselves but the final rule won’t come out until November so it is possible that things will change.

February 5, 2017

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