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American Hospital Association Launches MACRA Implementation Tool

October 12, 2016
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With the possibility that the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) final rule could drop in the next few weeks, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has launched an online tool, a MACRA Tracker, to help hospitals and physicians they employ prepare for Medicare’s new physician payment program.

According to AHA, the MACRA Tracker is designed to hospitals and their clinician partners evaluate where to invest time and resources in preparing for the program.

The American Medical Association (AMA) released a similar website with online resources last week, including a payment model evaluator tool, practice-improvement strategies, MACRA-focused podcasts to provide information and guidance during upcoming Medicare changes.

The AHA MACRA Tracker online tool catalogues the “known knowns,” or the areas where AHA predicts with some certainty what the final program will look it; the “known unknowns,” or the areas where changes are expected in the final rule and the “unknown unknowns,” or the areas where major changes are expected.

For instance, under the category of “changes to proposed rule unlikely,” AHA officials have included the January 1, 2017 start date for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance period as well as the qualifying advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) for 2017 measurement period—Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Tracks 2 and 3, Next Generation Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program.

AHA officials recommend providers move forward with exploring options for implementing

Under the category of “changes to proposed policy possible,” AHA listed the possibility that CMS will include MSSP Track 1 as an advanced APM in the final rule and the possibility that the advancing care information (ACI) reporting period may be shortened to 90 days, instead of a full year. AHA officials urge providers to exercise caution before committing time and resources in the areas listed under that category.

And, under the category of “changes to proposed policy likely,” AHA has included possible changes to ACI reporting requirements, and the organization recommends providers should invest limited resources in these areas until the final rule is released.

AHA plans to roll out additional tools to assist with MACRA implementation in the next few weeks, “including an educational video series and a tool with strategic considerations and issues as hospitals and clinicians assess their preparedness for MIPS.” And, AHA officials stated the organization was developing a toolkit that will provide a deeper dive into many aspects of the new program, including quality reporting requirements and partnering with clinicians to promote value-base

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