During this 2017 transition reporting year for MACRA, the requirements might feel overwhelming, but it’s important to put things into perspective. One of the most important thing you can do right now is to look at your quality measures and your clinical documentation activities and see where you can make improvements. The following are three things to keep in mind.
Fulfilling 2017 requirements may be easier than you think
When CMS issued the MACRA final rule in November of 2016, it softened the first year requirements for 2017. To avoid Medicare penalties in 2019, you only need to report one single measurement from either the quality or clinical practice improvement categories or the five required advancing care information measurements, which you probably already report for Meaningful Use. The final rule also states you must report for a minimum of 90 consecutive days, so you can wait until October 1, 2017, and still be qualified for a portion of the bonus.
You can also get full participation credit by reporting many of the PQRS and Meaningful Use measures you already report. The MIPS tables have a column that identifies the exact PQRS identifier to which it relates. The new category called Clinical Practice Improvement Activities includes reporting for things like having a patient portal, sending and receiving consult notes, or participating in emergency preparedness.
Contact your billing companies and EHR vendors
Based on my experience talking to providers, many billing companies and EHR vendors are behind the curve when it comes to helping providers collect actionable data and deliver reporting. Look at the quality measures and the clinical practice improvement activities and see what you are already doing in your practice. Then contact your EHR vendor and billing company to find out if they can assemble or report on your quality measures. If not now, when do they expect to have those capabilities.
Get in the habit of documenting and coding co-morbidities
For any value-based reimbursement, improving your clinical documentation is critical. Capturing co-morbidities in the chart notes, and then actually coding for them, is the best way to address risk stratification (how sick are your patients), which is a determinant in how you are measured for MIPS and against other providers.
To succeed in a value-based environment, you must be able to demonstrate that your patients are more complex and sicker than those treated by other providers and that you are treating them in a high-quality and cost-effective manner. This means knowing exactly what documentation the commercial payers and CMS require.
To learn more about 2017 MACRA requirements and beyond, sign up for our new webinar series, Transforming Your Practice in a Value-based World.