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  • Washington Highlights

    Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Holds Hearing on MACRA

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt May 12 testified before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA, P.L. 114-10), legislation that repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and reformed Medicare physician reimbursement payments [see Washington Highlights, April 29].

    Subcommittee Chair Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) opened the hearing saying, “The passage of MACRA last year confirmed our commitment, on both sides of the aisle, to keep Medicare strong for America’s seniors. By replacing the way that physicians are paid and consolidating the separate quality measurement systems, we have taken a great step towards the ultimate goal of fully integrated value-based care through the incentivization of high quality care.” He further encouraged all committee members to share concerns from stakeholders and constituents with committee staff and CMS, as the rule is finalized.

    Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) echoed similar sentiments saying, “Thanks to MACRA, we have set Medicare on a more sustainable course that will allow us to pay for value in health care, rather than volume. The law modernizes and streamlines physician payment. Instead of a patchwork of incentives and alternative payment models, it consolidates various programs into a single framework. It also provides flexibility for providers that will allow them to practice medicine independently, while still holding them accountable for providing high-value care.”

    Slavitt called the input from stakeholders “invaluable and nearly universal,” stating “physicians and clinicians want support for a care system that improves coordination and reduces cost, but too many unaligned quality programs, measures, and technology requirements can hinder their best efforts to accomplish these goals.”

    Slavitt outlined three principles to guide implementation, saying “First, patients are, and must remain, the key focus. Financial incentives should work in the background to support physician and clinician efforts to provide high quality services, and the needs of the patient, not measurements, need to be the focus of our approach. Second, success will come from adopting approaches that are practice-driven. Third, in everything we do, we must strive to make care delivery as simple as possible, with more support for collaboration and communication through delivery system reform.”