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Healthcare Informatics Podcast: How Much Concern Should There be Over MACRA?

August 4, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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In this latest Healthcare Informatics podcast, Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal talks to Dr. Tom Lee, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Chicago-based consulting and software firm SA Ignite, and his vice president of client services, Beth Houck, about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which of course is a law put in place last year that repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for Medicare physician payment.

Lee, as well-versed as they come when it comes to health IT policy and processes, has previously told Healthcare Informatics that 2016 could be seen as a “dress rehearsal” year for physicians partaking in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under MACRA, as many providers have been doing much of what the program entails in the first year. But, those comments from Lee were indeed before the proposed rule for MACRA even came out.

Tom Lee, Ph.D.

Now, several months later, still without a final rule in hand, Lee says in this podcast that “Some kind of relief will be critical to organizations, especially for smaller practices. Having as short as two months between the publishing of the final rule and the start of the first performance year would be a significant hardship. So I think there is likely to be some kind of relief on that end, and there are a variety of options," he says.

Yes, MACRA’s first program year is excepted to begin in 2017—so just a few months from now—meaning physicians are currently reeling, trying to figure out how to prepare for a law that many of them know very little about. In this podcast, Lee and Houck will discuss MACRA’s tight timeline, how concerned and prepared physicians are right now, what changes we might see in the final rule, and what the industry should be doing this moment to best help themselves.

You can listen to all Healthcare Informatics podcasts right here.