2018 looms as the year of implementation for proposed changes to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). This is the year that it will become mandatory for many medical practices to increase their reliance on certified EHR technology (CEHRT). Most physician practices that are small- or medium-sized will be required to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program in 2018 as well.
CMS Updates to MACRA
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) designed the MACRA requirements to be gradually implemented. The agency released an update to those requirements in June that impact the way medical providers participate in MACRA beginning in 2018. The update included the following changes:
- CEHRT Use
According to this update, the CMS is allowing clinicians who are eligible for MIPS to use either a 2014 or a 2015 edition CEHRT for the Advancing Care Information (ACI) category. Those providers who do make the change to a 2015 edition CEHRT for 2018, however, will receive an ACI bonus of 10 percent. There is also a CMS-proposed 90-day ACI reporting period that would give clinicians until October 2019 to move to a 2015 edition CEHRT so they can then comply with the final reporting period of the year.
- Some MIPS Participants Must Use CEHRT
Those physician practices who participate in the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program are required to use a 2015 edition CEHRT for the entirety of 2018 beginning on January 1 of that year. Participants in the Medicaid Meaningful Use (MU) program, however, are not subjected to this requirement as of yet. The CMS is expected to align the MIPS ACI and MU program requirements more fully in the future.
- More Reporting Flexibility
While MIPS-eligible practices were required to use only one mechanism for each performance category it was submitting in 2017, CMS changes for 2018 provide clinicians with greater reporting flexibility. Multiple submission mechanisms — when available — can be used by providers to meet the categoric requirements of ACI performance, improvement activities and quality.
- More Interoperability is Goal
The CMS provides medical providers with gradual implementation and flexible options in terms of MACRA and the MIPS program. The end goal, however, is to increase interoperability to promote better care coordination for improved patient outcomes. Streamlining their EHR usage with a program that is 2015 certified provides clinicians with incentives via bonuses and early compliance with current and future requirements.
MACRA and MIPS continue to undergo complex changes that will affect orthopedic practices of all sizes. Whether an orthopedic clinic is comprised of a single practitioner or dozens are on staff, the right EHR allows physicians to focus on what they do best: practice top-notch care to their patients. Exscribe EHR offers orthopedic practices access to a robust suite of specialized features that help streamline reporting and ensure compliance during these challenging changes. Learn more about how Exscribe EHR can help your practice navigate MACRA and MIPS or request a demo.