Plans for the Quality Payment Program in 2017: Pick Your Pace

On September 8, 2016 The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will provide clinicians with numerous options for participation in the new Quality Payment Program, initiated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The program is set to begin on January 1, 2017 and the first payment adjustment will be applied in 2019. In recognition of the wide diversity of physician practices, CMS intends for the Quality Payment Program to allow physicians to pick their pace of participation for the first performance period that begins January 1, 2017. During 2017, eligible physicians and other clinicians will have multiple options for participation. Choosing one of these options would ensure that they do not receive a negative payment adjustment in 2019. These options, and other supporting details, will be described fully in the final rule by November 1, 2016.

First Option: Test the Quality Payment Program.

With the first option, physicians must submit data to the Quality Payment Program, including data from after January 1, 2017. By doing so, it will avoid a negative payment adjustment.

Second Option: Participate for part of the calendar year

The second option allows physicians to submit Quality Payment Program information for a reduced number of days. This means the first performance period can begin later than January 1, 2017 and the practices could still qualify for a small positive payment adjustment.

Third Option: Participate for the full calendar year

The third option allows physicians choose to submit Quality Payment Program information for a full calendar year. This means your first performance period would begin on January 1, 2017, and they could qualify for a modest positive payment adjustment.

Fourth Option: Participate in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017

Instead of reporting quality data and other information, the fourth option, the law allows physicians to participate in the Quality Payment Program by joining an Advanced Alternative Payment Model, such as Medicare Shared Savings Track 2 or 3 in 2017. Depending on your Medicare Payments or your Medicare patients through the Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017, you would qualify for 5 percent incentive payment in 2019.

To read more on the Quality Payment Program visit: