CHIME on MACRA: Industry may need two years of transition

In a Dec. 16 letter to CMS, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) discussed the need for 2017 to be a transition year with the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). CHIME expressed hoped CMS would lengthen the timeline for the industry's MACRA transition into 2018.

The CHIME statement identified three primary obstacles for the healthcare IT industry in meeting MACRA's new requirements:

  1. The persisting lack of interoperability among and across the health system.
  2. The need for better synchronization across all meaningful-use programs.
  3. More attention on cybersecurity.

"CHIME strongly supports CMS’s intention to treat 2017 as a transition year," according to the letter addressed to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. "We believe this is a well-founded and common sense policy to onboard clinicians to an entirely new payment program.  We are particularly supportive of CMS’ decision to heed our—and other stakeholders’—calls for a 90-day reporting period for both 2017 and 2018."

The letter, signed by CHIME's board of trustees including Chair Marc Probst, encouraged CMS to provide further clarity regard reporting policies. For example, CHIME members have questioned whether clinicians would need to report for the entire year or just 90 days to comply with MIPS.

Responding to the first two obstacles—limited interoperability and needing improved synchronization—CHIME expressed fears its members would be penalized for industry-wide failures.

"The success of MIPS and APMs hinges on clinicians’ access to timely and relevant information to best inform decision-making that facilitates better care," the letter said. "Yet, when we look at the majority of measures upon which clinicians will be judged, they are highly dependent on an interope rable healthcare system. We do not believe interope rability will  become widespread without more uniformity in the us e of healthcare data standards."

Click here to read the full letter from CHIME to CMS.