Source: AAFP Washington, DC, Office
On May 11, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the implementation of MACRA. The witness at the hearing was Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt. Most of the discussion centered on the proposed rule released on April 27.
The hearing built on several recurring themes, including the reporting burdens placed on small and rural practices. Representatives Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Tom Price (R-GA) in particular referred to an impact table in the rule that predicts that 87% of solo practices will experience lower payment under the merit-based incentive payment system.
Mr. Slavitt consistently defended the proposed system as one that small practices can succeed in. He replied that small practices, “so long as they report, can do just as well as those in larger sized practices.” He added, “We know that the burden is on us to make the reporting as easy as possible.” He explained that CMS had met with many groups of physicians while preparing the rule (including the American Academy of Family Physicians) and told the subcommittee that “one of their key requests” is to not require physicians to report data twice.
Another prominent theme was asking whether CMS and participating physicians would be ready in time. Representative Kenny Marchant (R-TX) asked whether CMS had enough time and resources to meet all its deadlines, which Mr. Slavitt answered in the affirmative. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) asked him what physicians needed to do to prepare, to which he responded that CMS is doing everything possible to ensure that physicians “focus on patients—don’t worry about scorekeeping.”