CMS’ Slavitt Discusses the Future of Meaningful Use in MACRA Implementation

In a presentation at the  J.P. Morgan Annual Health Care Conference on January 11, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt discussed how his agency is moving the Meaningful Use Program into a new system culminating in implementation of  the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act  of  2015 (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  He noted that details on these programs will be published in the coming months with the release of the proposed regulations on implementation of MACRA, MIPS, and Alternative Payment Models. 

Mr Slavitt highlighted several themes that are guiding CMS implementation of these programs moving forward:

    • o The programmatic focus will move away from rewarding providers for the use of technology and towards patient outcomes.
    • o Providers will be able to customize their goals so technology companies can build around the individual practice needs, not the needs of the government. Technology must be user-centered and support physicians, not distract them.
    • o CMS will require open APIs (Application Program Interfaces) so that physician desktops can be opened up and the community can allow access to apps, analytic tools, and connected technologies to get data in and out of an electronic health (EHR) securely.
    • o CMS will begin initiatives in collaboration with physicians and consumers toward pointing technology to fill critical use cases like closing referral loops and engaging a patient in their care. Technology companies that look for ways to practice “data blocking” in opposition to new regulations will find that it won’t be tolerated.

MACRA requires MU compliance as a 25% part of the MIPS program calculation, but the “how” MU is utilized in the future is the subject great discussion this week.  HHS and CMS have some latitude to make programmatic changes through the pending rulemaking process later this year.

Stay tuned to the HIMSS Policy Update for  more specific information on the evolution of the Meaningful Use Program in the context of MACRA and MIPS implementation as the agency makes it available.