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Washington Highlights

CMS Announces Flexibility on MACRA Implementation

September 9, 2016—In advance of publishing a final rule, expected to be released by Nov. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt Sept. 8 announced new plans for the Quality Payment Program (QPP) under the Medicare Access CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which is set to begin Jan. 1, 2017.

In recognition of stakeholder feedback, CMS discussed changes to the QPP to allow for maximum flexibility and allow for physicians to pick their pace of participation for the first performance period by choosing from the following four options:

  • Test the Quality Payment Program: submit some data to the QPP to “avoid a negative payment adjustment;”
  • Participate part of the calendar year: report information for a reduced number of days (i.e. performance period could begin later than Jan. 1, 2017) and still qualify for a “small positive payment adjustment;”
  • Participate for the full calendar year: the performance period would begin Jan. 1, 2017, and eligible clinicians would qualify for a “modest positive payment adjustment;” or
  • Participate in Advanced Alternative Payment Model: qualifying participants would qualify for a 5 percent incentive payment in 2019 and practices work with CMS to continue building this program.

The AAMC has strongly advocated for flexibility in launching the new MACRA payment program [see Washington Highlights, July 1]. The AAMC will continue to provide feedback to CMS as the transition to the QPP begins.

Gayle Lee
Director, Physician Payment & Quality
Telephone: 202-741-6429

Courtney Summers
Senior Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-862-6042


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806