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Providers still largely in the dark about MACRA as reporting deadline nears, NueMD survey says

"I'm not sure" was the most common response to every question in this year's survey, NueMD said.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

NueMD's 2017 industry survey measuring how knowledgeable healthcare professionals are about MACRA indicates that with just over a month to go until physicians must start reporting, at least half of providers are not familiar with the law.

"I'm not sure" was the most common response to every question in this year's survey, NueMD said.

The survey was conducted in June 2017 and involved more than 1,000 healthcare professionals from both small and large practices.

[Also: MACRA 2018 revisions meet with broad support but groups call for fine tuning]

In terms of familiarity, 50 percent said they weren't at all familiar with MACRA, officially the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, 41 percent were somewhat familiar and only 9 percent were "very familiar." Moreover, 56 percent of respondents didn't know if they qualified to participate in MACRA's Quality Payment Program, but since then CMS has issued letters to physicians letting them know if they are expected to participate.

Perhaps one of the contributing factors is the ease, or lack thereof, in which providers are able to find information on the rule. Nearly 50 said they hadn't encountered any information on the law, 30 percent said they had though they were not actively seeking it, and 21 said they had and were actively seeking it.

Furthermore, 62 percent didn't know how MACRA would impact their practice overall, and that number was largely unchanged when it came to how it would financially impact their practice. Financial well-being is an area where small and large practices began to separate somewhat though. While the majority of both groups feel uncertain about MACRA, small practices ultimately foresee a negative financial future, while large practices predict a positive one. Specifically, 58 percent of small practices weren't sure what the financial impact would be, and only seven percent thought it could be positive, whereas for large practices, while 66 percent weren't sure of the impact, 16 percent predicted it would be positive.

[Also: Providers weigh CMS special status details as MACRA reporting draws closer]

A similar level of uncertainty existed when it came to effects on quality of patient care. However for those respondents that were MACRA savvy, almost half think they'll spend more time reporting data thanks to MACRA, and there's a pretty even split when it comes to effect on quality, with 28 percent predicting quality of care will worsen and 31 percent saying it will improve, results showed.

"The deadline to begin collecting MIPS data is October 2nd," added Clarke. "There's definitely still time for those struggling with MACRA to get up to speed, but they need to start now," NueMD said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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