"A CIO problem: 50% of doctors don't know what MACRA is" - Advisory Board

Published August 9, 2016

by Naomi Levinthal

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) radically changes the way Medicare pays physicians and other advanced clinicians starting in 2019 based on 2017 performance. Previously, IT leaders may have played a peripheral role in support of separate quality reporting programs, but the new program will require a coordinated effort with IT leaders at the helm of that initiative.

Although 836,000 providers nationwide will be impacted by MACRA, a recent survey of non-primary care physicians found that 50% do not know what the law is. Of those providers that did know about MACRA, 32% of those surveyed knew it only by name. This is a problem for health care organizations generally and also for IT leaders.

Why? It is very difficult for MACRA-impacted providers to fare well without loads of IT support; here are a handful of examples:

  • Providers with advanced EMR adoption won’t lose out on credit in the newly renamed meaningful use performance category, Advancing Care Information.
  • CMS provides extra credit for electronically reporting quality measure data. CMS has encouraged electronic reporting for years and we know they’ll only move that dial towards requiring it as the only method one day.
  • Two of the four MIPS performance categories compare a provider’s standing against their peers, so performance monitoring is critical. No paper-based method will afford the opportunity to examine potential performance issues across providers.

Once providers realize the importance of IT in their MACRA strategy, the demands on IT leaders could grow very quickly.

To make sure you are prepared for MACRA check your calendar to see if you can join me at our 2016 Health Care IT Advisor national meeting series. I will co-present what CIOs need to know about the law’s requirements, and share our research findings on the best role for IT in quality reporting.

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