AAFP President Wanda Filer, M.D., M.B.A., addresses a room full of family physicians and AAFP chapter leaders in the Academy's official rollout of MACRA Ready, a member communication and education plan designed to ensure that family physicians will be well equipped to embrace changes coming in a new value-based payment system.
The AAFP officially launched a comprehensive member communication and education effort focused on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) today at an early morning Town Hall meeting here.
AAFP President Wanda Filer, M.D., M.B.A., of York, Pa., addressed family physicians and AAFP chapter leaders who filled a ballroom at the Academy's 2016 Leadership Conference (the combined Annual Chapter Leader Forum and National Conference of Constituency Leaders). Her remarks were also live-streamed to family physicians nationwide in a video that has now been archived online. (Watch the video below.)
"What I'd like to do now is introduce you to something that the Academy has devoted immense resources to and will continue to grow. This is a new multi-year member education and communication effort -- it's called 'MACRA Ready,'" said Filer.
The AAFP's MACRA Ready site is a one-stop shop filled with resources family physicians can use right now such as
- AAFP President Wanda Filer, M.D., M.P.H., introduced Academy members to MACRA Ready, a huge communication and education effort focused on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) at the 2016 Leadership Conference on May 6.
- The effort is a one-stop shop filled with resources family physicians can use right now to realize the benefits of MACRA and value-based payments.
- Filer asked family physicians to bookmark the AAFP's MACRA Ready page and to check it often for updates.
- a timeline of important dates,
- a list of acronyms to help digest the alphabet soup associated with these complicated regulations,
- a 60-second overview video,
- a deep-dive review of what value-based payment means to family physicians
- and much more.
Filer told family physicians that the Academy's MACRA communication plan "is designed to help simplify the transition and provide the guidance that you will need to realize the benefits of MACRA and value-based payments."
She noted that a recent AAFP survey indicated that some 40 percent of family physicians already were involved in some kind of value-based payment system.
"And so we may be positioned to be a little bit ahead of this curve as we move into the MACRA world," Filer said.
She gave her audience a brief history lesson on MACRA and why the AAFP supported the passage of the 2015 law that "repealed the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that many of us spent the better part of probably 15 years on Capitol Hill working to get rid of."
MACRA not only repealed the SGR, said Filer, it also established an annual positive or flat-fee payment for the next 10 years, and it has instituted a two-track program (the Merit-based Incentive Payment System and Alternative Payment Models) for calculating Medicare payment beginning in 2019, Filer reminded physicians.
"Passage of MACRA was the culmination of years of sustained lobbying and outreach by the house of medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians and many of you in this room," she noted.
Filer then took that thought one step farther.
"Passage of MACRA is among the most significant change to occur in medicine in decades," she said. And it is the result of family medicine's demands for a delivery system and payment reforms.
"This is an opportunity to improve the quality of care that's delivered in this country, and MACRA presents, we believe, an enormous opportunity to drive broad payment reform for primary care," continued Filer.
"It modernizes the traditional fee-for-service payment model and begins to value the training, skill level and the time -- as well as the comprehensiveness -- that goes into taking care of our patients."
Filer acknowledged a steep MACRA learning curve in coming months. "This was a 962-page document that was released last week, and many of the rules and regulations are still being written," she said.
"The AAFP is actively working with CMS to ensure that the proposed rules will be good for family physicians. That's why we've created the online MACRA Ready resource just for you. Consider it your personal roadmap to MACRA success."
Filer asked family physicians to bookmark the AAFP's MACRA Ready page and to check back often.
"This is still very much a work in progress. We know that members are concerned -- they're worried," and they have a lot of questions, as does the AAFP, she said.
She assured family physicians that the AAFP was working closely with CMS and HHS to ensure that the MACRA implementation rules "help and don't hurt family physicians."
Filer concluded her remarks with this: "Please know that we have your back. We are on this and will do our best to keep you informed."
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