The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) formally submitted comments yesterday, Nov. 17, in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Request for Information regarding implementation of the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA). MACRA was enacted in April 2015 to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and replace it with incentives for physicians to participate in Alternative Payment Models (APMs). Under MACRA, starting in 2019, those who voluntarily participate in APMs will see a 5 percent bonus added to their Medicare payments. Those who continue to participate in fee-for-service will be subject to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which also will  begin in 2019. Under the MIPS, provider payments will be adjusted based on their performance in four categories: quality, resource use, participation in clinical practice improvement activities and use of an EHR.
In the comments to CMS, the NCMS stressed the importance of removing administrative burdens associated with the various quality reporting programs currently in place, and using MACRA as an opportunity to remove current payment system limitations to allow physicians to be truly innovative when looking to move beyond fee-for-service payment models. The NCMS also called on CMS to ensure a fully transparent process in implementing the new MIPS program, and certifying eligible APMs. The NCMS recommended taking a gradual approach to implementation while also leveraging existing practice transformation efforts currently underway.
Read our comments in their entirety. The NCMS also joined more than 100 state and national specialty societies in signing-on to an AMA letter outlining organized medicine’s priorities and principles for MACRA implementation. Read the AMA’s letter.  The NCMS will continue to keep members informed and updated as we move toward implementation of the MIPS and APM structures under MACRA. Register and visit our Quality Time with the NCMS webpage to stay up-to-date on all the details.