CMS seeking answers on spreading the word about MACRA
More than halfway through the first year of its rollout, clinicians still lack an understanding, and in some cases, awareness, of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
The CMS estimated that around 40% of clinicians are unaware of MACRA requirements, and even fewer nurse practitioners know about the law's provisions, according to Jean Moody-Williams, deputy director of CMS' Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. She didn't reveal the agency's estimate for awareness among nurses.
The findings come a little more than two weeks before an Oct. 2 deadline for providers to start tracking data under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System. Missing that deadline could result in a financial penalty in 2019. At least 400,000 providers are mandated to report under MIPS this year.
"We are hitting a critical milestone; it's now or never," Moody-Williams said Wednesday during a meeting of HHS' Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education, which advises the agency on promoting its programs.
Moody-Williams turned to the advisory committee to get additional ideas on how it can get the word out about MIPS.
The agency now largely relies on press releases, fact sheets, webinars, conference appearances by staff members and social media to get the word out.
The CMS is not only trying to figure out better ways to inform providers about the need to start tracking quality measures this year, it also wants to educate clinicians on how to best submit their data and to remind them that they need to make sure they are ready to meet year two requirements, which start Jan. 1.
"Our goal would be that no one would get a negative payment adjustment because they didn't know," Moody-Williams said.
The leading recommendation made by the panel, which includes clinicians and private payers, was to create more opportunities for one-on-one interactions. Whether that be having people ready to talk after a conference appearance or webinar, or getting the word out about available helplines.
"There is a lot of fear on the ground, there is a lot of confusion and anything you can do to try to reduce regulatory burden would be very much appreciated," said Dr. Alvia Siddiqi, a panel member and medical director for Advocate Physician Partners, a care-management collaboration with more than 3,000 physicians.
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