American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

The American Osteopathic Association Responds to Final MACRA Rule

Statement attributable to Boyd Buser, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association

CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2016 - A large number of osteopathic physicians work in small or physician-owned practices, which are the most susceptible to shifts in federal payment. We anticipate the new MACRA rule will directly impact about 50 percent of our members. Announcement of the final rules gives them the certainty needed to plan their approach to the new payment system, and the rule addresses many of our physicians’ concerns with the transition.

One of the biggest opportunities in MACRA may lie ahead in the ability for rural and small practices to form virtual groups to better position themselves to achieve merit-based incentive payment system bonuses.  That kind of collaboration could have a ripple effect, where the virtual groups then begin to leverage their numbers and create economies of scale that could help mitigate the costs of information systems and other capital expenditures. We look forward to receiving additional details on this aspect of MACRA in the coming year.

While we appreciate CMS looking ahead to broaden opportunities for physicians to participate in the advanced alternative payment model path in future years, it is disappointing that many of those currently in patient-centered medical homes will still not qualify for it and opportunities to enter other such value-based models remain limited.

It’s important to understand that MACRA is a seismic change in our health care system. Our physicians greatly appreciate the “pick your pace” options offered for the first year, giving them time to adjust to the new system. We are pleased CMS has listened to the concerns of physicians across the country and are hopeful that future transitional adjustments to the program will similarly recognize the full diversity of practice types and needs.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 123,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

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