The CMS sent letters to 806,879 clinicians informing them they will not be evaluated under MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for this year, Modern Healthcare reported.
Exempted doctors are those with less than $30,000 in Medicare charges and fewer than 100 unique Medicare patients per year. Clinicians new to Medicare this year are also exempt.
About 418,000 physicians will still need to submit MIPS data. The change came after the CMS used an updated formula to estimate providers' Medicare revenue, according to Modern Healthcare.
Under the tenure of Andy Slavitt, the CMS worked to ease requirements and improve flexibility for the massive changes MACRA imposes on physicians. Particularly in small and rural health systems, executives and physicians have raised concerns that they do not have enough time to get ready for new data gathering and reporting.
The exemption notification signals President Donald Trump's administration will also offer flexibility to the rule.
When the CMS implements MACRA, the program will eliminate the sustainable growth formula and replace it with a .5% annual rate increase through 2019. At that point, the CMS will encourage physicians to move either to MIPS or an alternative payment model. MIPS combines the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier and the Meaningful Use EMR Incentive program.
It is believed most physicians will enter into the MIPS program in the first year.
This latest news will likely be welcomed by the more than 800,000 physicians won’t need to follow MIPS reporting requirements for another year. They have been waiting for an update since the CMS missed a December deadline to inform providers of their status. An earlier final MACRA rule from October 2016 said 2017 would be the performance period for the 2019 MIPS payment year.