The American Medical Association has unveiled several online tools to help physicians through pending Medicare payment and delivery changes and to improve their opportunity for success under the new program that will go into effect in 2017.

The online tools will help physicians in their preparations for next year, when they’ll need to migrate to one of several options to comply with the new quality payment program being implemented under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced flexibility in how physicians can move to the new payment system, the AMA tools and support will help them predict performance and understand ways they can better prepare for reimbursement under MACRA. Options under MACRA and other supporting details are expected to be described fully in the final rule, which is expected by November 1.

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“MACRA represents the most significant change to Medicare’s physician payment system in a generation, and the AMA is working to help physicians navigate this change and make sure they are prepared for it,” said Andrew Gurman, MD, the professional association’s current president.

The AMA Payment Model Evaluator offers initial assessments to physicians so they can determine how their practices will be impacted by MACRA. The tool will give physicians and their staff a brief assessment, as well as relevant educational and actionable resources. After physicians and medical practice administrators fill out an online questionnaire, they will receive guidance for participating in the MACRA payment model that is best for them. The tool is free to all physicians and their practice administrators.

In addition, the AMA STEPS Forward collection of practice improvement strategies has new MACRA-specific tools. Accurate and successful reporting on quality metrics is crucial to the new Medicare payment system, both in the current Physician Quality Reporting System program and under MACRA’s new Quality Payment Programs. Physicians and their practice staff can use these to help improve practice efficiency and ultimately enhance patient care, physician satisfaction and practice sustainability.

“The AMA is helping physicians get started with practical advice presented plainly and clearly, and physicians should begin by logging in today to best understand the changes that are occurring,” Gurman says.

The AMA will continually update the Payment Model Evaluator and other information to respond to regulatory changes and to keep practices up to date throughout the new payment and care delivery reform process.

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