2017 will be a pivotal year for family physicians as they learn more about CMS' new Quality Payment Program currently under construction as directed by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).
There is a lot of information that physicians will need to absorb regarding the two payment pathways available to them in 2017 and beyond: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs).
Although it's true that 2017 stands to be the year of implementation, 2016 served an equally important role as the preparation period before the real show is slated to begin.
The AAFP spent countless hours working with CMS and other entities to ensure the rules and regulations surrounding all the new programs favor family physician and the important work they do.
And along the way, as part of that process, the Academy created a wealth of resources and tools. In fact, family physicians might want keep this list handy so they know exactly where to turn with questions in the event they hit a rough patch in the implementation process.
The MACRA FAQ is the AAFP's most popular MACRA resource based on the number of page views it received in 2016. This document gives succinct answers to the most common MACRA-related questions, starting off with this one: How does MACRA impact my Medicare payments?
The Pathway to MACRA infographic shows physicians a variety of options for navigating the future value-based payment world of MIPS and APMs. Physicians who desire additional in-depth information can read more in a special supplement(3 page PDF) titled "Making Sense of MACRA: Understanding Your Pathway."
A MACRA timeline(1 page PDF) clearly illustrates what will happen and when -- beginning in 2016 and rolling forward a decade to 2026.
The MACRAnym list qualifies as an excellent resource to print out and post in a medical practice. These new programs are filled with unfamiliar acronyms such as SAN (Support and Alignment Network) and CPIA (clinical practice improvement activities). It's hard for even the most seasoned value-based payment pro to keep up with them all.
The MACRA on-demand module series is a special members-only offering for those family physicians who are just entering the value-based payment starting gate. These modules give participants just the right amount of introductory information on MACRA, MIPS and APMs.
A MIPS and APM comparison table is just what physicians need to help decide which payment pathway is best for them. This easy-to-read table gives readers a side-by-side comparison of the two options based on eligibility, participation requirements, incentives and penalties.
Prepare for MIPS illustrates how adequate preparation is the key to success. This resource asks the right questions to help physicians critique their practices and choose the next steps to get ready for MIPS that are right for them.
Family Practice Management also played a crucial role in helping physicians grasp details about the MACRA learning curve. One article, written by Amy Mullins, M.D., the AAFP's medical director for quality improvement, was appropriately titled "Medicare Payment Reform: Making sense of MACRA."
Last but not least, AAFP News served as the No. 1 MACRA news source for family physicians -- a one-stop shop that keeps family physicians in the loop about what's new, what's changing, what the AAFP is doing behind the scenes and, most importantly, what family physicians need to know about MACRA, MIPS, APMs and all things payment reform.
Yes, 2016 was a busy year for the AAFP and for family physicians -- who should be sure to take full advantage of all the resources created on their behalf. So go ahead and jump into 2017 with confidence.
And stay tuned. The AAFP is poised to announce more MACRA-related offerings in the very near future. After all, the goal is to keep family physicians engaged, informed and ready to move on to the next stage, whatever that may be for each individual practice.
Related AAFP News Coverage
AAFP Offers Members Useful Clinical Resources for 2017
Academy Also Provides Recommendations to Support FPs in Their Practices