- CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt stated Wednesday the agency may delay the implementation of MACRA, which is currently set to begin Medicare payment reform on January 1, 2017.
- Slavitt testified to the Senate Finance Committee that public comments indicated a need for special consideration for small, rural and independent practices that are likely to struggle to implement the new rules, Healthcare Finance reported.
- Another important message taken from the public comments, Slavitt said, was that clinicians need flexibility and time to adapt to the sweeping changes.
Slavitt's testimony addressed industry groups' concerns that such change requires time for practices to prepare and adjust, and that small, independent practices would be hardest hit by having to adapt too quickly, and potentially have to join with bigger practices or hospitals.
“The focus on small independent practices and their ability to continue practicing independently is a very important priority for us,” Slavitt said.
As things stand, the final rules for MACRA are slated to be published November 1, with implementation on January 1, 2017, giving providers just two months to learn and implement the rules, Healthcare Finance noted.
Slavitt said CMS would consider numerous approaches to help delay and soften the blow of MACRA going live, including alternative start dates and shortened reporting periods. He added CMS is looking to reduce reporting burdens however possible, through means such as automatic data feeds and the elimination of some reporting where providers have consistently performed well.