With notable changes in Medicare underway, the American Medical Association (AMA) has unveiled a series of online tools to help physicians comply with the new Quality Payment Plan under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) that will go into effect in 2017.

“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, President, AMA, Hollidaysburg, PA, in a press release by the association.

AMA Payment Model Evaluator

One new resource is the AMA Payment Model Evaluator. Created using the expertise of physicians and input from partners, this innovative tool is essentially an interactive decision tree. The physician or medical practice administrator fills out a 10-minute questionnaire, providing information about the physician, and the financial structure and reporting structures of the practice. Based on the questionnaire responses, the tool provides a brief, primary assessment about which Quality Payment Program options may be best for the practice, in addition to relevant educational materials and actionable resources. The Payment Model Evaluator, which is available to all physicians and their practice administrators free of cost, will continuously be updated by the AMA in response to regulatory changes, and to keep practices current throughout the process of payment and care delivery restructuring.

AMA STEPS Forward

Another online resource is AMA STEPS Forward™, which has been updated to include new MACRA-specific tools designed to help practices achieve the Quadruple Aim of better patient experience, better population health, lower overall costs, and improved professional satisfaction among providers. There are currently 42 modules for physicians to choose from, including components that will assist them in selecting and implementing an electronic health record, reporting to data registries, and preparing their practice for value-based care. These resources will enable physicians and their practice staff to thrive in the new healthcare environment.

ReachMD Podcast

The AMA has also launched a ReachMD podcast series titled Inside Medicare’s New Payment System that will help keep physicians informed about upcoming changes to Medicare. Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Baltimore, MD, and Dr Gurman are among the AMA staff experts and other speakers who will be featured in this podcast series.

Thus far, there have been 8 episodes in the series, including segments addressing the future of Medicare payment reform, and the rise in specialist-driven alternative payment models.

“We know there are challenges under the new system, but the recent announcement of the ‘Pick Your Pace’ reporting options indicates not only that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsive to the AMA’s advocacy on behalf of physicians, but that it is working to give physicians a fair chance to be successful in the new payment framework,” Dr Gurman stated in the association’s press release.

“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,” he advised.

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