Survey: Nearly Two-Thirds of Providers Aren’t Ready for MACRA Reporting Rules

Health care providers need experienced IT support

Pointing to a lack of financial resources and qualified information technology (IT) professionals, 64% of health care providers said they were not prepared to meet reporting requirements under the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (MACRA), according to a new survey. Stoltenberg Consulting produced the survey by polling attendees at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Orlando, Florida.

The lack of a budget (44%) and the lack of qualified, experienced job candidates to fill health IT positions (43%) were cited as the top reasons why health care organizations are not fully staffed in their IT departments. Fifty-four percent of respondents said finding qualified health IT staff and support is “difficult,” while 28% of survey participants reported it as “very difficult.”

Most of the respondents (68%) agreed that preparation for complying with the MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) should be a combined effort across clinical, financial, and IT departments. Thirty-one percent of respondents identified “revising data management/reporting mechanisms to meet new reporting requirements” as the top QPP challenge. That obstacle was nearly even with “motivating the entire organization to collectively work together to achieve goals” (29%).

Successful MACRA QPP reporting requires more than just passive submission of claim data, according to the survey report. Success requires a defined, focused team that includes IT, clinical, and operational departments, all led by an executive representative.

“The first step for this multidisciplinary team is to acquire a solid understanding of MACRA QPP,” the report says. “With this foundation, the team can more effectively assess reporting mechanisms and identify where reporting gaps occur and how those will be mitigated. The team should then create a multi-year roadmap, including alternative QPP path considerations that indicate the potential impact on reimbursement. 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.”

After his confirmation in February, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price was urged by physician organizations to make MACRA voluntary, a move that could free doctors from the burden of electronic health record (EHR) data entry. Other organizations have lauded the value-based payment law as one of several regulatory efforts that will improve care and lower costs.

Sources: Stoltenberg Consulting; March 23, 2017; and FierceHealthcare; March 23, 2017.