Free EMR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to EMR and EHR for FREE!

MACRA Stats – MACRA Monday

Posted on April 17, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post is part of the MACRA Monday series of blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

I love a good stat. I realize that you can make stats tell you whatever you want. However, if you look at them with a critical eye, you can learn something about both the organization producing the stat and the population that the stat represents.

It’s no surprise that I found these MACRA stats shared by David Chou to be of great interest and a perfect MACRA Monday discussion.

The stat that stands out to me is the 51% of physicians who reported that they weren’t getting paid on a performance basis or that their compensation had a very small performance based piece to it. For those of us following the cutting edge of what’s happening in the world of healthcare, it’s sometimes important to remember that while the shift to value based reimbursement is happening, it still has a long ways to go.

I found David Chou’s tweet with these stats interesting when he said “Most physicians prefer the old model of payment vs MACRA.” I would look at these stats a bit differently than David.

I would suggest that these stats say that doctors prefer reimbursement models they understand and ones that pay them well. This is proven out in the stat that 71% of physicians surveyed would participate in value-based payment models if offered financial incentives to do so. It’s not really a shocking insight that doctors are happy to shift models if there are financial incentives to do so.

The challenge is that most doctors don’t think that a value based reimbursement model is going to pay them more for the work they do. They’re probably right. This explains why nearly 8 in 10 physicians surveyed prefer fee-for-service or salary for their compensation. If a new model came along that would pay them more than their current fee for service model, then they’d happily switch models.

Sometimes we make things too complicated. Physicians just want to be paid well for the work they do. Sounds like all of us no? The concern for most physicians is that these models are unlikely to pay them more. In fact, it’s quite possible they’ll pay them less or at least pay them the same for more work.

I haven’t seen any plan or projections to pay doctors more. In fact, the rhetoric in society is that we pay too much for healthcare (which is true). As a society, we all agree that we should be paying less for healthcare. However, as a healthcare provider or healthcare organization the idea of paying less for healthcare translates to getting paid less. Who’s going to take the hit when it comes to getting paid less? Providers? Hospitals? Pharma? Med device companies? Health IT Companies?

Could value based reimbursement models theoretically cost less and pay all of these stakeholders the same amount of money because patients were healthier? Works great in theory, but looking at the past history of these programs tells another story. So, it’s no wonder that most doctors would happily stay in the fee-for-service reimbursement world they know vs moving to value based reimbursement models.

Be sure to check out all of our MACRA Monday blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

A Quick Look at MACRA in the Twittersphere – MACRA Mondays

Posted on April 10, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post is part of the MACRA Monday series of blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

MACRA is still an extremely hot topic and so there’s a lot of discussion about it happening on Twitter and other social media platforms. For today’s MACRA Monday I thought I’d highlight a number of tweets about MACRA that might help you in your efforts.


This was one of the main reasons that doctors didn’t want to participate in meaningful use. Seems like it’s carrying over into MACRA. Is there reason to be concerned?


I thought this was an interesting way to breakdown the two parts of MACRA: APMs and MIPS. I’d just add that APMs require the new entities to report as well. You can’t get away from reporting in either of them.


Leavitt Partners has a deep perspective on what’s happening with healthcare. In the link they assert that MACRA may have a bigger direct impact on physicians and the delivery system than ACA (Obamacare). They could very well be right.


I wouldn’t have guessed this is a radiology society’s top priority. It matters to them, but it seems like they’d have bigger fish to fry.


Numbers like this are disturbing. Does it really take that much to be prepared for MACRA? Or do doctors just not understand MACRA and so they answered that they’re not ready? Maybe I was wrong about how many will just take the penalties. Although, it’s still early and I think most will be able to avoid penalties thanks to Pick Your Pace.

Any great tweets or insights you’ve seen about MACRA lately? If so, share them in the comments.

Be sure to check out all of our MACRA Monday blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

MACRA Success Calls For Team Effort – MACRA Mondays

Posted on April 3, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

This post is part of the MACRA Monday series of blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

A new study suggests that the common-sense approach to handling MACRA issues – getting everyone on your team engaged with issues that arise – is popular among medical practices.

According to Stoltenberg Consulting’s Fifth Annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey, which polled a mix of IT professionals and executives at HIMSS17, the industry is still struggling to begin their MACRA process. In fact, 64 percent of respondents said that they were unprepared or very unprepared to handle MACRA.

On the other hand, many have a good idea of how they’ll proceed. The survey found that 68 percent of respondents said that practices should bring together clinical, financial and IT staffers when tackling MACRA challenges.

Even so, respondents had some significant concerns about their capabilities. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that revising data management and reporting processes to meet new reporting requirements was their biggest Quality Payment Program challenge. Almost tied was the need to motivate the entire organization to work together towards MACRA goals.

In its commentary, Stoltenberg expands on these themes. “Successful MACRA QPP reporting will take more than just passive submission of claim data,” the report states. “MACRA QPP success requires a defined, focused team which includes IT, clinical and operational departments all led by an executive representative. By combining their expertise, team members can better capture, maintain and analyze data that demonstrates program requirement achievement.”

But creating a team isn’t enough, the consulting firm notes. To move forward, the team must become thoroughly familiar with MACRA QPP and its subtleties. Then, the team will be equipped to evaluate the group’s existing reporting mechanism, decide which reporting gaps exist and figure out how to close them.

Then, the team should create a multi-year roadmap for meeting QPP requirements, including a look at alternative QPP paths they could take and what the impact on reimbursement might be, the report recommends. “A  roadmap will allow a healthcare organization to quickly adapt its MACRA program from year to year, preparing for more stringent requirements in future reporting years or transition from one reporting path to another.”

In addition to addressing MACRA issues, the researchers looked at issues in staffing healthcare IT departments. Fourty-four percent of respondents said that their department wasn’t fully staffed because they lacked the budget to do enough hiring.

Meanwhile, 43 percent said they hadn’t encountered enough qualified, experienced job candidates to fill their open positions. Also, 54 percent said that finding qualified health IT staff and support was difficult, and 28 percent said it was very difficult.

To close these hiring gaps, Stoltenberg recommended that healthcare organizations consider investing in training high-potential IT staffers with less experience, and pair them with advisors who can help them grow their skills.

Be sure to check out all of our MACRA Monday blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program.

ACP Offers Recommendations On Reducing MD Administrative Overload

Posted on March 30, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

As everyone knows, physicians are being overwhelmed by outsized levels of administrative chores. As if dealing with insurance companies wasn’t challenging enough, in recent years EMRs have added to this burden, with clinicians doing double duty as data entry clerks after they’re seen patients.

Unfortunately, streamlining EMR use for clinical use has proven to be a major challenge. Still, there are steps healthcare organizations can take to cut down on clinicians’ administrative frustrations, according to the American College of Physicians.

The ACP’s recommendations include the following:

  1. Stakeholders responsible for imposing administrative tasks – such as payors, government and vendors – should analyze the impact of administrative tasks on physicians. If a task is found to have a negative effect on care quality, needlessly questions a clinician’s judgment or increases costs, it should be challenged, fixed or removed.
  2. If an administrative task can’t be cut, it must be reviewed, revised, aligned or streamlined to reduce stakeholders’ burden.
  3. Stakeholders should collaborate with professional societies, clinicians, patients and EMR vendors to develop performance measures that minimize needless clinician burden and integrate performance reporting and quality improvement.
  4. All key stakeholders should collaborate in reducing, streamlining, reducing and aligning clinicians’ administrative tasks by making better use of health IT.
  5. As the US healthcare system shifts to value-based payment, stakeholders should consider streamlining or eliminating duplicative administrative demands.
  6. The ACP would like to see rigorous research done on the impact of administrative tasks on healthcare quality, time and cost; on clinicians, staff and healthcare organizations; patient and family; and patient outcomes.
  7. The ACP calls for research on best practices for cutting down on clinicians’ administrative tasks within both practices and organizations. All key stakeholders, including clinician societies, payors, regulators, vendors and suppliers, should disseminate these evidence-based best practices.

It appears that even the federal government has begun to take these issues to heart. According to Modern Healthcare, late last year CMS announced a long-term initiative intended to reduce physicians’ administrative burdens.  Then-acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said the initiative would hopefully make it a bit easier for practices to meet the requirements of the Quality Payment Program under MACRA.

But other sources of administrative frustration are likely to linger for the foreseeable future, as they’re deeply ingrained in stakeholder business processes or simply difficult to change.

For example, the American Academy of Family Physicians notes that some of the biggest aggravations and time wasters for its members include the need to get prior authorizations from health plans and outdated CMS documentation guidelines for E/M services which don’t leverage EMR capabilities. Sadly, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for either of those problems to be solved.

Still, it seems some healthcare organizations want to take on the administrative overhead problem. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has launched an initiative aimed at reducing the number of computer-related tasks doctors have to perform. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, UPMC is partnering with Microsoft to minimize physicians’ need to do electronic paperwork. Executives with the two organizations say this effort should result in tools for both doctors and patients.