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PODCAST: AMIA’s Jeff Smith on MACRA/MIPS in this Current Moment and What’s Next in HIT Policy

April 19, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Could MIPS really be repealed and replaced? What’s the future of MU? AMIA’s Jeff Smith weighs in on these pressing policy issues and more

It’s been almost six months since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its calendar-year 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) final rule, under the MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) law, but that hasn’t stopped the frequent discussion around one of today’s most hot-button health IT policy issues.

In recent months, talks about a possible MIPS (the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, one of the two payment tracks under MACRA’s QPP) repeal have ramped up following a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report to Congress, advocating for the elimination of MIPS and replacing it with an alternative model of reimbursement.

As our Heather Landi reported at the time, “MedPAC submits two reports to Congress each year, in March and in June. Back in January, MedPAC voted 14-2 to recommend scrapping MIPS and replacing MIPS with a new clinician value-based purchasing program, called the Voluntary Value Program (VVP), and this proposal was included in the advisory group's recent report to Congress.”

Moving forward, questions linger on if the MedPAC recommendations—which have several pieces to it, outlined deep inside this massive report—will be seriously considered by federal administrators.

On the latest Healthcare Informatics podcast episode, Jeff Smith, vice president of public policy at AMIA (the American Medical Informatics Association), discusses the chances of a possible MIPS repeal (starting at 2:20), cautioning that there are “immovable timelines” that will affect if dramatic change could happen. At the same time, however, Smith notes that “When MedPAC [a nonpartisan legislative branch agency that provides the U.S. Congress with analysis and policy advice on the Medicare program] says something, smart people would do well to listen.”

On this podcast, Smith and I also discuss more MACRA relief that could be on the way (12:30), the future of the meaningful use program (17:15), and how well-equipped the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) will be to carry out the health IT provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act (23:50).

This podcast runs 30 minutes in length and keep in mind, you can listen to all Healthcare Informatics podcasts right here.

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