CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt told lawmakers that the agency's implementation of the new Quality Payment Program will be mindful of reporting burdens on small physician practices and allow for adaptability at the practice level.
Slavitt spoke Wednesday at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which aims to tie Medicare reimbursement to care quality rather than volume.
The CMS recently released more than 900 pages offering details on the rule.
Slavitt echoed his other recent statements, reiterating that the CMS is actively seeking robust feedback on MACRA from providers, patients and other stakeholders. He re-emphasized that doctors should be thinking about patients' needs when practicing, not regulations.
Representatives said they generally approved of MACRA's concepts, but have heard from many rural providers and small practices that worry that the new reimbursement model would be unsustainable for them. The requirements for gathering and reporting data on care quality could force them into larger physician groups.
The CMS is aware that many small and rural providers are concerned about how they will meet MACRA's reporting requirements. The agency will offer technical assistance and allow providers to group together for reporting. Many small groups will not meet the threshold for reporting requirements, Slavitt said.
Small practices can do just as well as larger practices on quality measures when they are able to report their quality data, but they will need help, he said.
“One of the reasons we don't have the hearts and minds of physicians is because there's too much paperwork in healthcare,” he said.
The CMS also anticipates incorporating more measures on how physicians engage their patients by encouraging joint care plans, online portals and more communication, Slavitt said.