House leaders applaud flexibility in final rule on MACRA physician payment

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final physician payments rule on Friday that includes alterations requested by House Republicans to meet the needs of independent practices.

CMS released a final physician payment rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) with added flexibility requested by both medical providers and legislative leaders.

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), a medical doctor and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, said that he was “pleased” to see “significant alterations” to increase flexibility.

“In particular, it is evident that the regulation is responsive to the needs and concerns presented by small, independent and rural practices,” Burgess said. “I appreciate that CMS and (CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt) have taken every possible step to maximize and incorporate the input from clinicians.”

Being open to legislative remedies to ensure MACRA meets the needs of patients and providers will be needed as the legislation is implemented, Burgess added.

“Unlike the ACA, this law was carefully crafted with those it will affect in mind —both patients and physicians,” Burgess said. “It is now important for Congress to continue oversight to be certain the law is carried out exactly as intended.”           

In a joint statement, U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Fred Upton (R-MI), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also applauded added flexibility in the final rule.

“These steps help enhance practitioner participation in new Medicare payment opportunities that will ultimately improve patient care and outcomes,” the lawmakers said. “Last month, the administration provided early word of reporting flexibility for physicians and other health care providers. We believe that these and other flexibilities, which are included in the final rule, will help ensure that Medicare beneficiaries receive the value-based care they deserve. This historic law has been a collaborative effort from the start. We are encouraged by this final rule and CMS’s commitment to ongoing collaboration with Congress and the health care community.”