HELEN News

MACRA Input Needed

Congress’s enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) last year repealed Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) in favor of a new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) intended to increase quality of care across the United States. The law was designed to shift how health care providers are paid from a volume-based payment system to a value-based system. While well-intentioned, this push raises several concerns. Most notably that providers with higher quality scores tend to also have higher disparities in care among racial and ethnic minorities and other vulnerable populations.

On May 9, 2016 CMS released its much anticipated proposed rule to implement MACRA and gave stakeholders until June 27, 2016 to submit public comments. The HELEN team is currently reviewing and analyzing the proposed rule to determine its potential impacts on health disparities, health equity, the underserved, and other vulnerable populations. We will use our findings to draft public comments to inform the final rule so that we can meaningfully address disparities, advance equity, improve quality, and support our critical safety net providers.

As diverse champions and stakeholders of the health equity movement throughout the country, we want to hear from you! Do you have a specific concern with the rule? Is there a provision you believe should be strengthened? Will it jeopardize a vulnerable population? Let us know! As you and your organizations review the proposed rule, please send us your thoughts and concerns so that we may incorporate your views into our public comments.

Once compiled, the comments will be submitted by HELEN, and made available as a template for you and your organizations to customize and submit independently.  If you would like your views to be considered for HELEN’s comments, please either post them to the MACRA Proposed Rule discussion forum, or submit them privately via email to dwalls@msm.edu. In order to be considered, comments must be received no later than Thursday, June 9, 2016. HELEN’s comment template will be made available to members the week before public comments are due to CMS (June 27).

We look forward to receiving your input.

-The HELEN Team