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    Here's why physicians need to stay the course with MACRA

    Last year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated that it would offer several “pick-your-pace” options to help physicians ease into compliance with MACRA in 2017. 

    These options give provider organizations some leeway as to when they can start meeting MACRA's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) requirements in 2017, allowing providers that were not ready by January 1 to still participate in the program without penalty. 

    How should physicians approach this choice? Should they select a partial or full participation option? 

    Strive for full participation 

    Although pick-your-pace offers physicians the flexibility to report their 2017 MACRA measures for either a partial year or with partial data without penalty, practices should not view these options as a way to delay compliance. In fact, practices would be well advised to proceed full steam ahead, aiming to document and report all full set of Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) data measures  for a full reporting period in 2017, which is a minimum of any 90 consecutive days. 

    There are several reasons why this is a good approach. First and foremost, there are no risks to full participation. CMS has made 2017 a transition year, so organizations can take part in MACRA without penalty.

    This provides the opportunity to test their reporting capabilities, identify potential compliance weaknesses and implement solutions in preparation for 2018 without risk. In addition, there are potential incentives for organizations that participate for the full reporting period.

    Chris Emper
    Chris Emper is government affairs advisor at NextGen Healthcare.

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