TeleTown Hall Meeting Answers Texas Physicians’ MACRA Questions

Almost 2,500 TMA-member physicians participated in the association's July 27, 2016, TeleTown Hall meeting on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). 

If you missed the call, listen to the recording below. If you have questions of your own, submit them via email to macra[at]texmed[dot]org.


Polls of participants during the call found:

  • 69 percent said they don't know anything about MACRA and have taken no steps to prepare for the transition to date;
  • Only about 1 in 3 said they've been able to get Medicare bonuses through the existing PQRS program; and
  • Near the conclusion of the event, 57 percent said they still need more info to get ready for the change.

Gregory M. Fuller, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Health Care Quality, and John T. Carlo, MD, chair of the Council on Socioeconomics, hosted the event with help from TMA staff experts.

Passed by Congress on April 15, 2015, MACRA repealed Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. It requires participating Medicare physicians to choose between two payment paths:

  • Fee-for-service Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and
  • Eligible Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

During the TeleTown Hall meeting, Drs. Fuller and Carlo spelled out TMA's primary concerns to the draft rule the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed to implement the new law, based on a comprehensive position statement TMA issued earlier this month:

  • Compliance and reporting are costly, prohibitively so for small practices.
  • Compliance costs may exceed physicians' return on investment.
  • Many processes/outcomes on which physicians will be scored are out of doctors' control.
  • Physicians may be penalized for serving certain patient groups.
  • The draft rule shifts Medicare payments from small, rural practices to large, urban, physician groups and health care systems.
  • There is no evidence most MIPS requirements or incentives offer any return on investment to Medicare.

Before taking questions from physicians on the line, Drs. Fuller and Carlo also reviewed TMA's Five-Step MACRA Readiness Checklist (Members Only):

  1. Learn about MACRA and decide if an APM is right for your practice. Otherwise, you will be in MIPS.
  2. Assess your performance under Medicare's current quality programs.
  3. Review MIPS quality measures and reporting mechanisms.
  4. Contact your EHR vendor.
  5. Explore the list of clinical practice improvement activities.

For additional information and to stay up to date on MACRA and TMA's advocacy activities, bookmark and visit TMA's online MACRA Resource Center.

Last Updated On

October 10, 2016

Originally Published On

July 28, 2016