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  • Washington Highlights

    Energy and Commerce Holds MACRA Hearing

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee April 19 held a hearing on Medicare physician payment reforms passed as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) [see Washington Highlights, April 17, 2015] and physicians’ efforts to prepare for the new payment system.

    Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) opened the hearing reflecting on the repeal and replacement of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula stating, “prior to MACRA, physicians not only faced the threat of unsustainable cuts from the SGR, but a series of well-meaning but uncoordinated requirements stacked on top of each other from a variety of reporting requirements. MACRA seeks to consolidate, streamline and integrate these efforts into a single program.”

    Chairman Pitts also stated that as providers are waiting for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rule on the new payment system, “physicians should be thinking about ways they can modernize their practices an participate in current programs to act as a springboard for their preparation for MACRA.”

    Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) echoed praise for the bipartisan legislation stating, “Instead of the patchwork of quality reporting systems that providers currently use, they will instead use the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS will streamline quality reporting for providers and incentivize high-quality efficient care.  Providers can also choose to use Alternative Payment Models (APMs), which have proven to increase quality and lower costs.”

    Witness testimony was heard from Jeffery Bailet, M.D., MSPH, FACS, executive vice president Aurora Health Care, co-president Aurora Health Care Medical group; Barbara McAneny, M.D., American Medical Association; Robert McLean, M.D., FACP, American College of Physicians; and Robert Wergin, M.D., FAAFP, board chair, American Academy of Family Physicians.