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Providers still not ready for MACRA, Stoltenberg survey says

It turns out many healthcare providers expected, or hoped, that the initiative would be delayed. It's still coming and they need to prepare now.

Bernie Monegain, Editor, Healthcare IT News

In its fifth annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey, Stoltenberg Consulting, which specializes in healthcare IT, revealed 64 percent of healthcare providers indicated they were "unprepared," or "very unprepared" for MACRA, even as the first quarter in the initial MACRA reporting year nears.

Stoltenberg's reserach produced similar results to a Health Catalyst-Peer60 survey taken in about the same timeframe.

MACRA, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, was signed into law on April 16, 2015, with bipartisan support. The law introduces new approaches to care, mandates that providers will be paid based on quality and effectiveness and, as such, is seen as instrumental in driving the shift from volume to value-based payment.

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[Also: CMS offers insights on MIPS, APMs in MACRA's payment reform]

MACRA consolidates and replaces several value-based reimbursement programs, including the Physician Quality Reporting System, Meaningful Use and the Value-Based Payment Modifier.

"Many felt MACRA would be delayed due to its size and enormous financial impact on physician reimbursement in the transition to value-based care," Joncé Smith, vice president of revenue cycle management at Stoltenberg Consulting, said in a statement. "MACRA's quality payment program, QPP, now streamlines and increases provider accountability for quality outcomes and cost reduction, but success under the program will take far more than just passive submission of claims data."

[Also: CMS awards $100 million for MACRA quality payment program training]

A majority – 68 percent of participants – indicated preparation and compliance with MACRA should be a combined effort across clinical, financial and IT departments. Additionally, revising data management mechanisms for new reporting requirements was deemed the top QPP challenge by 31 percent of survey takers, while "motivating the entire organization to collectively work together to achieve program alignment goals" drew 29 percent of respondents.

Stoltenberg's survey was conducted at HIMSS17, Feb.19-23. Survey participants represented practice management, project management, director and C-suite roles. IT professionals – at 53 percent –  led survey participation, while executive/C-suite representation came in at 42 percent.

[Also: While most pledge participation, providers lack clear strategy for MACRA compliance]

"Success with MACRA requires a joint effort of IT and departmental resources to successfully combine clinical, financial and operational data," Smith said. "This effort commands not only a deep technical knowledge of how and where to extract and transform the right data, but also a solid understanding of how to integrate it in such a way that the resulting data demonstrates that an organization meets objective criteria for its chosen reporting path." 

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN