MACRA—the federal government’s blueprint for moving from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement—is on the top of the agenda for many physician practices. Yet with only a few months left until the start of the proposed 2017 performance period- and now with CMS head Andy Slavitt confirming that MACRA won’t be delayed- many organizations are feeling overwhelmed due to the size and scope of the 962-page proposed rule.

As we wait for CMS to release the final MACRA regulation this fall, in addition to education, here are a few areas to focus on that will help your practice prepare for MACRA:

  • Prioritize quality. For the first year, quality accounts for 50 percent of MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) score. Practices must choose six measures from a list of nearly 300 to report.

Since scores—and ultimately payment—will be linked to performance as opposed to just reporting, it’s critical to choose quality measures where your practice does well.

A thoughtful, data-driven selection process will ensure a practice picks the right measures. This may involve assessing all the metrics for which the practice currently collects data and selecting those with the strongest outcomes. Don’t forget to talk with various stakeholders to make sure that everyone is on the same page and potential choices align with the organization’s strategic direction.

  • Assess your technology. In addition to choosing quality measures to report, practices should make plans to leverage technology that supports reliable, accurate cost and quality reporting, both now and in the future. Confirming that your reporting tool supports your selected quality measures is a good place to start, noting that most systems will not support reporting the full list of roughly 300 quality measures, due to the diversity of both the measures and the technology systems.
  • Create a long-term plan. Beyond gearing up for the 2017 reporting period, practices should be thinking about how they will comply with MACRA over time and commit to developing an overarching strategy. This will involve looking at how the practice plans to demonstrate performance with quality in the future, as well as addressing resource use, advancing care information and clinical practice improvement activities. Practices should also consider how their MACRA strategy (which is focused on traditional Medicare) aligns with their strategy for Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and commercial payer payments.

Confused about what technology to choose – or how to maximize your existing technology over time? To ensure you’re set up for success today (and as needs and regulations change) call on some expert-level help to analyze your performance, infrastructure, and strategy – and get trusted feedback on next steps tailored for your organization.

Ready for more information about how MACRA will affect you? Take a look at our customizable Cheat Sheet on the New Payment Reform Law.

Hear more expert perspective on MACRA. Read my recent Medical Economics article.

One final thing to keep in mind is that MACRA is still only a proposed regulation, and thus it is subject to potential changes. Consequently, practices should stay tuned to any new developments while continuing to prepare for compliance.

Stay up to date on MACRA developments and learn how NextGen Healthcare can help your practice prepare for MACRA. Visit