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CMS To Grant Flexibility for MACRA Quality Program in 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will give providers some flexibility during the first year of reporting under the streamlined Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Under MACRA, three existing physician quality programs will be consolidated into the QPP: the physician quality reporting system, the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program for eligible professionals, and the value-based payment modifier.

In a blog post, CMS Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt announced the four reporting options providers have starting in January 2017 to ensure they do not face a negative payment adjustment in 2019:

  • Option 1: Providers participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) can avoid a negative payment adjustment as long as they submit some data during calendar year (CY) 2017;
  • Option 2: Providers could qualify for a small positive payment adjustment by reporting for a portion of CY 2017;
  • Option 3: Providers participating for all of CY 2017 might qualify for a modest payment bump; and
  • Option 4: Providers choosing to participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017 can qualify for a 5 percent incentive payment in 2019 if they successfully meet program thresholds.

The MACRA final rule has yet to be released, but Slavitt wrote that CMS expects to publish the final regulation before Nov. 1.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.



About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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