HHS finalizes MACRA Quality Payment Program, includes emphasis on health IT

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final rule on a new program called the Quality Payment Program, a part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

The two pathways for provider participation — the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and the Advanced Alternative Payment Model — both require use of certified EHR technology to facilitate health information exchange between providers and patients.

For those in the MIPS pathway, the Medicare EHR Incentive Program (also known as "Meaningful Use") has been replaced with the Advancing Care Information performance category. While Stage 3 of "Meaningful Use" required clinicians to report on 18 measures, this final rule only requires clinicians to report on five measures related to interoperability. Clinicians will not be required to report on clinical decision support or computerized provider order entry measures. In addition, MIPS' quality performance category includes a bonus scoring system for electronic clinical quality measure reporting.

Those in the APM pathway are excluded from these reporting requirements and payment adjustments. However, to qualify as an Advanced APM, at least 50 percent of clinicians in the APM will be required to use certified EHR technology to document and communicate clinical information with providers and patients.

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