13 October 2016

The AMA’s New Tools to Ease MACRA Transition for Physicians

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently unveiled new tools and resources to support physicians through the daunting process of transitioning to CMS’s new Quality Payment Plan (QPP) under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). These resources include the AMA Payment Model Evaluator, the addition of six new MACRA-specific modules to the AMA STEPS Forward™ collection of practice improvement strategies, and a new ReachMD podcast series titled Inside Medicare’s New Payment System. The AMA developed these new tools to help physicians navigate and prepare for the impending changes to Medicare payment and delivery and to improve their opportunities to succeed when MACRA and the QPP go into effect in 2017.

The AMA Payment Model Evaluator, an online assessment tool to help physicians determine MACRA’s likely impact on their practices, is essentially an interactive decision tree. The physician or medical practice administrator completes a 10-minute questionnaire to provide information about the physician, the practice’s financial structure and its reporting structures. Based on those answers, the tool provides a brief initial assessment of which QPP option might be best, as well as relevant educational and actionable resources. 

AMA STEPS Forward is an interactive, online practice transformation series developed by physicians for physicians. It provides physicians with proven strategies that can improve practice efficiency and help them achieve the Quadruple Aim: better patient experience, better population health, lower overall costs and improved professional satisfaction for providers. The STEPS Forward website includes downloadable educational tools, live event listings, videos and a mechanism for sharing in-depth feedback. 

Currently there are 42 modules in five categories – Patient Care, Workflow and Process, Leading Change, Professional Well-Being, and Technology and Finance – including six new MACRA-specific modules: 

The Inside Medicare’s New Payment System ReachMD podcast series features CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman, AMA staff experts and others discussing the upcoming Medicare changes. There have been eight episodes to date:

  • “The Future of Medicare Payment Reform: Perspectives on MACRA with CMS's Andy Slavitt”
  • “Thoughts on Physician Advocacy and Payment Reform with AMA President Andrew Gurman, MD”
  • “The Rise of Specialist-Driven Alternative Payment Models in American Medicine” with Dr. Lawrence Kosinski, founder and Chief Medical Officer for SonarMD
  • “APMs in Cancer Care: The Patient-Centered Oncology Payment Model” with oncologist Dr. Robin Zon
  • “Implementing MACRA: The AMA’s Keys to Advancing Opportunities, Avoiding Pitfalls” with AMA executives Richard Deem and Michael Tutty
  • “Why Participating in Clinical Practice Improvement Activities (CPIA) Matters” with Laura Hoffman, Assistant Director in the Department of Federal Affairs at AMA
  • “Preparing for Quality Reporting: Keys to Keeping Your Practice on Track” with Koryn Rubin, Assistant Director of Federal Affairs at AMA
  • “How an EHR Can Help You Participate in MACRA” with Matt Reid, MS, Senior Health Care IT Consultant at the AMA

Dr. Gerald Maccioli, Sheridan’s Chief Quality Officer, is a member of the AMA’s Physician Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability group that has input into, and partial oversight of, these new tools and resources. Dr. Maccioli says another important reason for creating them was to help bridge physicians’ significant knowledge gap regarding MACRA and QPP. MACRA’s implementation is expected to cause major upheaval at all levels of this country’s healthcare system, yet 50 percent of respondents to Deloitte’s 2016 Survey of U.S. Physicians said they had never heard of MACRA, and another 32 percent said they had heard of the law but were not familiar with its requirements. Only 2 percent said they had in-depth knowledge of this transformative law and its requirements.

“MACRA represents the most significant change to Medicare’s physician payment system in a generation,” said AMA President Dr. Andrew Gurman. “The AMA is helping physicians get started with practical advice presented plainly and clearly, and physicians should begin by logging in today to best understand the changes that are occurring.”