June 27, 2017

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AAOS to Comment on 2018 Quality Payment Program Proposed Rule

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that would make changes in the second year of the Quality Payment Program, including participation requirements for 2018. The Quality Payment Program—which replaces the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula as required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015—includes two tracks: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track and the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) track. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has been working closely with CMS to address a number of concerns related to the Quality Payment Program, including the need for additional flexibility and simplification, as well as protection for small, solo, and rural practices. In this proposed rule, CMS has taken significant steps to respond to these concerns, and AAOS will be providing CMS with further comments by the August 18 deadline.

“AAOS is pleased CMS has listened to physician feedback, and we commend the agency for incorporating changes that will address a number of our concerns,” said Wilford K. Gibson, MD, Chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy. “The program remains overly complex and there are continued issues regarding access to data and Advanced APM qualification for specialists, but we are extremely encouraged by proposals that improve the program for providers and ensure quality care for Medicare beneficiaries. The provisions related to virtual groups, expanding the low-volume threshold, and delaying 2015 CEHRT are especially welcomed. Further, we applaud the agency for continuing the ‘Pick Your Pace’ transition period, allowing physicians to more successfully meet the challenges of implementation and participation. We look forward to continuing our work with CMS to further improve the Quality Payment Program and ensure physician payment reform ultimately improves the care of musculoskeletal patients.”

“We’ve heard the concerns that too many quality programs, technology requirements, and measures get between the doctor and the patient,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “That’s why we’re taking a hard look at reducing burdens. By proposing this rule, we aim to improve Medicare by helping doctors and clinicians concentrate on caring for their patients rather than filling out paperwork. CMS will continue to listen and take actionable steps towards alleviating burdens and improving health outcomes for all Americans that we serve.”

For further information and resources, visit https://www.aaos.org/MACRA-DeliveryReform/.

Read the CMS press release online here: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2017-Press-releases-items/2017-06-20.html.

Read the CMS fact sheet on the proposed rule here: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/Value-Based-Programs/MACRA-MIPS-and-APMs/Proposed-rule-fact-sheet.pdf.

Read the proposed rule here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2017-13010.pdf.