- Only about 50% of practicing physicians have heard of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), according to Deloitte’s 2016 Survey of U.S. Physicians.
- The survey aimed to assess physicians’ awareness of the widely debated law, their perspectives on it, and their preparedness for it, though the final rule isn't due out until November 1.
- MACRA is slated to reform healthcare payment and administration beginning in January 2017, meaning little time is left for physicians to become familiar with the matter and prepare for the sweeping changes it will bring though CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt suggested last week a delay and some adjustments could be in the cards.
Lack of awareness of MACRA could matter not just in terms of physicians' preparation for the new law, but for their having been absent from the discourse on the new rules. CMS is taking public comments under advisement that argued for special consideration for small, independent or rural practices that are most likely to have difficulty implementing the changes and to be forced to join larger health systems.
"Regardless of their awareness level, most physicians surveyed would have to change aspects of their practice to meet the law’s requirements and to do well under its incentives," the report noted.
The survey was based on data from 600 U.S. physicians representative of the American Medical Association (AMA) file in terms of years in practice, gender, geography, practice type, and specialty. A subsample of 523 physicians with non-pediatric specialties was specifically asked about MACRA because it targets Medicare payments.
The survey found that 50% of the non-pediatric physicians had never heard of MACRA, and 32% only recognized the name.
Among its other key findings were that independent physicians were more aware of MACRA than employed physicians (21% vs. 9%), which is likely because they are more involved in their business management. However, those with a high share of Medicare payments were no more aware than others.
Also notable was that almost 8 in 10 of all the physicians surveyed said they preferred traditional fee-for-service or salary for their compensation.