For the better part of this year, efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have dominated the political arena and public discourse. But with all eyes on what ultimately proved to be a complete mess, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its critical and much-anticipated plan to update the Medicare payment program for physician reimbursement.
While it was certainly hard not to watch the repeal-and-replace debacle unfold—even if it proved to be arguably a waste of time—the CMS proposal is much more important in terms of actual impact on physicians and their ability to provide patient care.
Proposed updates to QPP in year two
On June 30, CMS released the long-awaited proposed rule to update Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) for the 2018 performance period. Coming in at just over 1,000 pages, the extensive proposal continues the overall “pick-your-pace” trend established in the QQP implementation policy for 2017, while also amending some existing requirements and establishing new policies.
According to CMS, the proposal’s goal is to continue “building and improving Quality Payment Program policies that will be familiar to stakeholders and are designed to integrate easily across clinical practices” while also addressing “elements of MACRA that were not included in the first year of the program, including virtual groups, facility-based measurement, and improvement scoring.”
The proposed rule estimates that in year two (2018) of the QPP, 8,590 urologists will be eligible to receive payment under MACRA's Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2020.