MACRA doesn’t spell end of independent medical practices

While the Medicare payment reform law Congress passed last year poses numerous challenges for independent medical practices, it will not doom them. In fact, practices that understand how they will be evaluated under the law may be able to improve their bottom lines when the law takes effect.

That was the consensus of participants in the Medical Economics roundtable discussion of the issues medical practices confront today, held during the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants’ 2016 annual conference in Palm Springs, California.

“There are opportunities to do better under this model if you’ve got your act together and you understand that opportunities to increase [revenues] really are there,” said panelist Max Reiboldt, CPA, president and chief executive officer of Coker Group, a healthcare consultancy. “It’s going to be different, though, and change is hard to adjust to.”

His observations were echoed by Dave Zetter, CHBC, founder of Zetter HealthCare, a medical practice management consulting group. “Those that understand what they’re doing and know how to manage the process, especially in the first couple of years, are the ones that are going to be making the bucks,” he said.

Education is important
Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015 to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula for determining how Medicare reimburses physicians. Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) issued a preliminary rule with details of how the law will be implemented, including the categories it will use when evaluating physicians and determining if they will receive penalties or bonuses in their Medicare reimbursements.

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