Bipartisan Letter Urges CMS to Consider Flexibility on MACRA Implementation

On September 6, 2016 bipartisan leaders from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to CMS urging flexibility in the implementation of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The letter requested CMS to consider the following flexibilities for all practitioners:

  • Simplified, streamlined, coordinated requirements;
  • Clear pathways to succeed in Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or the Alternative Payment Model (APM) tracks;
  • Opportunities to move to the APM track and flexibilities to be rewarded for meaningful delivery system reform activities in MIPS and in the APMs; and
  • Appropriate systems ready and in place prior to January 2017 reporting

With its collaborative tone, the letter sends a signal to CMS that Congressional leaders are aware of the potential problems, are watching closely but are still giving CMS the deference necessary to move forward with implementation. This may change once the MACRA Final Rule is released. The MACRA Proposed Rule was released on April 27, 2016 with a Final Rule expected to be released this Fall. The legislation mandates implementation of Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) payment adjustments by 2019. CMS proposed January 1-December 31, 2017 as the reporting period for this first year of MIPS.