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Most physicians are lagging in MACRA understanding, preparedness, joint AMA/KPMG study shows

Only 8 percent describe themselves as "deeply knowledgeable" about the program and its requirements, the survey said.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

A joint survey by the American Medical Association and financial firm KPMG paints a daunting picture for physicians and MACRA, with results showing that fewer than one in four physicians feel well prepared to meet its requirements in 2017.

The survey involved 1,000 practicing physicians who have been involved in practice decision-making related to the Quality Payment Program, or QPP. A majority, roughly 51 percent, of surveyed physicians who are involved in practice decision-making are somewhat knowledgeable about MACRA and the QPP and only 8 percent describe themselves as "deeply knowledgeable" about the program and its requirements.

[Also: 2018 MACRA rule continues pick-your-pace, will exempt even more clinicians (updated)]

Another key finding stated that more than half of the leading physicians believe MACRA's requirements are hard to bear, the survey said, with 90 percent saying they felt the reporting requirements were "somewhat" or "very" burdensome. The time required to report performance was listed as the biggest problem, followed by understanding requirements, MIPS performance scoring and the costs of accurately capturing and reporting performance.

"Physicians in smaller practices, four or fewer providers, and those without experience in existing value-based reporting systems were significantly more likely to view requirements as "very" burdensome and feel less well prepared for long-term financial success," the agencies said.

[Also: MACRA changes meet with favorable reaction from medical groups]

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released the 2018 updated version of MACRA, the bi-partisan legislation that moves physicians towards integration of value-based payment models, and directly connects Medicare's reimbursement to quality and performance reporting. The pick-your-pace-option went into effect this year, the first for the law's implementation and will continue through 2018, allowing for troubleshooting and a more gradual systemic integration, especially for small practices.

Of the responding physicians, 56 percent said they plan to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS in 2017, and 18 percent anticipate qualifying for the Advanced Alternative Payment Model, or APM, track.  

[Also: MACRA shows CMS is all-in on value]

"While progress has been made in preparing physicians for the move from volume in the fee for service payment model to value in alternative payment models, it is important that we do even more to assist physicians with the transition, S. Lawrence Kocot, National Leader of the Center for Healthcare Regulatory Insight at KPMG said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn