Feds Award $100 Million in MACRA Help to Small, Rural Practices

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) included funding for organizations to provide support and technical assistance to small and rural practices to help them successfully participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and alternative payment models. TMA and the American Medical Association have continued to push for this assistance, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) responded to that call by awarding about $20 million to 11 organizations.

The grants cover the first year of a five-year program to provide on-the-ground training and education about the Quality Payment Program for clinicians in individual or small group practices of 15 or fewer clinicians. CMS intends to invest up to an additional $80 million over the remaining four years.

TMF Health Quality Institute is one of the 11 organizations.

The organizations will provide hands-on training to help thousands of small practices, especially those that practice in historically under-resourced areas including rural areas, health professional shortage areas, and medically underserved areas. The training and education resources will be available immediately nationwide and will be provided for free to eligible clinicians and practices.

"Clinicians in small and rural practices are critical to serving the millions of Americans across the nation who rely on Medicare for their health care," said Dr. Kate Goodrich, CMS chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. Congress "provided the funding for this assistance, so clinicians in these practices can navigate the new program, while being able to focus on what matters most — the needs of their patients."

The technical assistance, for example, will help clinicians choose and report on quality measures. It will include guidance with all aspects of the program, including supporting change management and strategic planning, and assessing and optimizing health information technology.

TMF will provide technical assistance and services in a region comprising Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico. Customized assistance will include: 

  • Evaluating practice readiness for participating in a new payment model,
  • Engaging practices in continuous quality improvement,
  • Assessing and optimizing health information technology, and
  • Supporting change management and strategic planning. 

Additional federal training on the new Quality Payment Program includes: 

In addition to TMF, CMS awarded contracts to these organizations:  

  • Altarum,
  • Georgia Medical Care Foundation (GMCF),
  • HealthCentric,
  • Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG),
  • IPRO,
  • Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI),
  • QSource,
  • QualisQuality Insights (West Virginia Medical Institute), and
  • Telligen. 

For more information on the Quality Payment Program, visit the TMA MACRA Resource Center or the CMS website

Action, March 1, 2017

Last Updated On

March 01, 2017