67% of physician groups say MACRA tech requirements threaten their independence

A majority of physicians who practice in groups with five or fewer physicians believe the technological and staffing requirements to function in a value-based reimbursement system will force them to join integrated delivery networks or larger groups, according to a Black Book survey.

The survey collected responses from 1,300 physician groups, 67 percent of which said they do not have the technology, capital or staffing required to comply with the Merit-based Incentive Payment System set in place by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

Eighty-nine percent of solo physician practices said they expect to minimize Medicare volumes so they don't have to submit the required quality and cost performance reports, according to the survey.

Already, physician groups face staffing and capital shortages: 77 percent of small practices said they are currently struggling financially due to physicians moving to larger group practices and hospital integrated delivery networks. Additionally, 72 percent of practices said their billing technology underperforms, adding to their financial troubles.

Adjusted payments to physicians for meeting MIPS requirements do not go into effect until 2019 for 2017 performance reporting. "That's far too long to maintain operations for the most stressed practices to hold on with outmoded technology and scarce billing support," said Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book, in a statement.

As such, 78 percent of independent primary care physicians plan to join a larger physician group or an IDN before 2019 to leverage those reporting and revenue cycle tools.

More articles on MACRA:

Andy Slavitt talks MACRA: 4 key takeaways 
CMS issues MACRA fact sheet for small practices: 3 key takeaways 
Dr. John Halamka on MACRA rules: 'It's time to leave the profession' 

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