MACRA: A New Age for Physician Payments

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The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 introduced a new system of physician payments in the United States. This legislation and the complex rules written to enact the law intend to force a shift away from volume-based payments and into so called value-based payments. Physicians and other clinicians will be graded via quality and cost metrics and payments will be adjusted based on performance. Robust use of certified electronic health records is required under MACRA. Physicians will follow one of two payment reform tracks known as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Alternative Payment Model (APM) pathways. Although there are rheumatology and other specialty specific quality measures in the MIPS program, there are no rheumatology specific APMs to date. A thorough understating of MACRA is required for medical practices to survive the new era of payment reform.

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