Unpacking MACRA: The Proposed Rule and Its Implications for Payment and Practice

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Abstract

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a proposed rule that details a consolidated pay-for-performance provider payment system within the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This proposed rule establishes policy for the new provider Merit-Based Incentive System and Alternative Payment Models. While the rule is extremely complex, and not yet finalized, there are significant implications for nursing and advanced practice providers. This proposed rule intends to drastically change the current provider payment system and reward providers who demonstrate better quality outcomes at a lower cost. It also aligns with the current administration's intention to reform the payment and delivery system to a value-based methodology. Within the proposed rule, there is much at stake and will likely transform the way in which providers are reimbursed for Medicare beneficiaries. There are many strategies that can be deployed to help drive success within this new legislation. Among them are a renewed focus on quality outcomes, knowledge of clinical performance, care coordination, and deploying new models of care that address a lower cost structure. It is imperative that nurses and advanced practice providers are aware of this new legislation and how their practice will be implicated by payment reform.

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