MACRA requirements have many physicians throwing up their hands in frustration. Extensive changes to their reporting and practice structure are creating a scramble to both understand the rules and create systems to comply.
While some are hoping for a legislative fix, the program is in place and here to stay. Ignoring MACRA will only cost your practice time, money, frustration, and will delay the opportunities for benefits that the program allows. Many practices are unsure of exactly what the rule will mean for them so we’ve compiled four different ways that MACRA can hurt your practice.
1. Possibility of lower reimbursements
The incentive-based MACRA program was designed to cut both ways. Practices that comply and show positive results with patient care are eligible for increases in Medicare reimbursements. But, practices which are less careful with compliance, or cannot show positive results with their choice of direction for patient care, will be penalized with a reduction in Medicare reimbursement. Beginning in 2019, your Medicare reimbursement rates will be directly affected by your MACRA compliance and penalties can be as high as 7%.
2. More paperwork and administrative staff
The core of MACRA involves collecting and reporting patient data to CMS. Growing pains will certainly be part of the process as practices adapt to meet the requirements. New systems, new hires, and a new outlook will be needed to create a workflow that includes the digital vision of MACRA. The law has been termed by some as “death by bureaucratic stranglehold” and practices will need to hire new staff dedicated to addressing the paperwork and data collection, or reorganize current staff to meet the requirements.
3. Capital investments
Encouraging practices to embrace new technology is central to MACRA. The collection of data required by the law will require the purchase and introduction of enhanced software systems such as EHR software, Clinical Decision Support software, and online PACS.
4. Public scoring
Another aspect of MACRA will be a scoring system that will be made public. This component will become increasingly significant as the data is aggregated via web services. Non-compliance or low scores could cost referrals and future patients.
The bottom line
Though many practices will take a wait-and-see attitude before adjusting their systems, it will be those who learn, understand and take action with their practices that will be ahead of the game.