You might be hoping that I’m going to say the most important thing about MACRA is that it will go away with a new president and the promise to tear apart Obamacare. However, MACRA received overwhelming bipartisan congressional support, so ignoring is not an option.
The most important aspect of the Quality Payment Program in 2017 is that it offers everyone an opportunity to pause and reorganize. 2017 is a transition year which requires very little reporting to avoid any penalty to your 2019 FFS payments. That is great news for the many clinicians who have not participated in PQRS, VM and Meaningful use programs.
However, many organizations that are already reporting all the required measures may not consider pausing and be full steam ahead to report all required measures in hopes of receiving that illusive positive incentive. Beware, because there will be almost no negative penalty, there will be almost no upside incentive. Remember the program is based on a balanced budget. Only those at the very top of performance will be eligible to receive part of the $500 million set aside for exceptional performers.
Therefore, the most important thing a health care group can do is pause and decide how they want to focus their energies in 2017. Are you a top national PQRS/VM performer and therefore likely to earn the exceptional performer bonus based on your 2017 work? Or, is this an opportunity to regroup and focus on setting up a longer term organizational strategy? Consider using the Quality Payment Program to help focus resources on longer term cost reduction and quality initiatives so that you hit 2018 in full force.