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Tag: APM

MACRA Is Broken. It Needs to Go Away Now.

At its January 12, 2017 meeting, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) made it clear they had reached the conclusion that the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) cannot work (see my last post ). MIPS is the larger of the two programs within MACRA; the Alternative Payment Model (APM) program is the other. The commission’s primary rationale for its conclusion about MIPS is that it’s not possible to measure physician “merit” (cost and quality) at the individual physician level.

But rather than recommend that Congress repeal MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act), MedPAC decided to try to fix it. At the January and March 2 meetings, the commissioners discussed a staff proposal to amend MIPS substantially and to tweak the APM program. Those discussions went nowhere.

I give MedPAC credit for finally stating unequivocally that MIPS cannot work. But MedPAC should never have volunteered to fix MACRA. It can’t be done. By proposing modest amendments to MACRA and thereby implying it’s fixable, they stepped into an intellectual tar pit. I will illuminate this tar pit by describing the commission’s unproductive discussion about the staff’s proposed amendments to MACRA. To give you a sneak preview of what that discussion was like, I give you two excerpts from the transcript of the January meeting:

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New “kid” on specialty ACO block –Chuck Saunders, Integra Connect

One of the more surprising announcements at HIMSS17 (or anywhere so far this year) was that a company led by some well known health tech veterans has both invested a ton of money and been off the ground for some time, while being very quiet about it. Integra Connect is the company and it’s a tech and services company providing ACO/APM/MACRA/ MIPS-type services for high cost specialty care (think cancer). CEO Chuck Saunders was at Aetna’s Healthagen group (and before that Broadlane/WebMD/EDS and some others I forget) and the Chairman (and source of most funding) is Raj Mantena who built several companies in the specialty pharmacy space (inc ION and Oncoscripts). Integra Connect already over 1,000 employees and several large physician groups as customers and I spoke with Chuck about the (high cost and pretty large) niche they’re in and how they’re working.

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