GOP Doctors Caucus: We’ll fix MACRA if CMS won’t
As they analyze the 2,398-page final rule revamping Medicare reimbursement, Republican physician lawmakers say they will, if needed, intervene to improve the regulations for the nation’s physicians.
The 18-member GOP Doctors Caucus is reviewing the final rule released October 14 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) governing how Medicare will reimburse doctors under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
“If the final rule is not satisfactory, the Doctors Caucus will look at a possible legislative fix. Our top priority is getting this right for patients and practitioners,” Rep. Phil Roe, MD, tells Medical Economics. A co-chair of the caucus, Roe represents Tennessee’s First District.
In response, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt told Medical Economics the agency worked closely with the Republican group and other physicians in crafting the final rule.
“I’ll leave legislating to Congress because that’s what they do,” Slavitt says. “If I was a physician, I wouldn’t sit back and think, ‘Maybe there will be legislation to change things,’ however.”
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Rep. John Fleming, MD, of Louisiana’s Fourth District, the caucus’s other co-chair, says MACRA and its reporting requirements are likely to frustrate doctors who would prefer to spend their time caring for patients rather than reporting on quality measures. If the final rule is too onerous for physicians to meet requirements, especially through the law’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) where most small practices will fall in 2017, Fleming is concerned many physicians may opt for direct-pay practice models and eliminate Medicare patients from their panels.
MACRA establishes what CMS calls its Quality Payment Program, which includes two ways for doctors to receive Medicare reimbursements: MIPS and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).