Improve the health of the people of Wisconsin by supporting and strengthening physicians' ability to practice high-quality patient care in a changing environment.

Society selected to participate on AMA’s new Medicare Physician Payment Reform Committee

On April 16, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 into law (Pub. L. 114-10). This law not only repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate Medicare Part B payment methodology, but also kicked off a four-year transition of moving the Medicare Part B payment system from a volume-driven system to a value-driven one. For many physicians across Wisconsin, this transition provides opportunity, but also some uncertainty regarding the manner in which they deliver and are paid for the care they provide.

“From the day MACRA was signed into law, it was clear that medicine’s work had not ended,” said Society CEO Rick Abrams. “Indeed, in many ways, it had only begun, and it is critical that medicine leads the way in creating this new care delivery and payment system to ensure that it is practical and fair.”

To this end, the American Medical Association (AMA) has created a new Medicare Physician Payment Reform Committee (Committee). Its mission is to ensure that medicine plays a significant role in developing the new value-driven Medicare payment system, and the Wisconsin Medical Society is one of just five state medical societies and nine national medical specialty societies chosen to participate.

The Committee held its first meeting in Washington, D.C. July 1. Chris Rasch, the Society’s director of state and federal relations, and CEO Rick Abrams represented the Society. Several important principles came out of the meeting and will focus the Committee’s work moving forward, according to Abrams:

  • Almost all of organized medicine supported MACRA. Therefore, the Society has an obligation to its physicians and its patients to make it work.
  • The Committee will create subcommittees to focus on two major components of the new value-driven system: Merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) and Alternate Payment Mechanisms (APM). These subcommittees will be populated with technical experts and physicians to ensure that the new systems are practical and are successful.
  • Nobody has time to “reinvent the wheel.” As such, organized medicine will share resources and identify “best practice” approaches to care delivery and payment.
  • The Society will attempt to approach the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not as a regulated profession, but as a stakeholder that wishes to collaborate and partner with CMS to make MACRA implementation as successful as it can be. This desire to partner and collaborate, if accepted by CMS, would usher in a new era in the Society’s relationship with that agency.
  • This is not an endeavor involving medicine alone. To be successful, the Society must build a coalition of patient advocates, payers, purchasers and other parties of like mind and desire.

The Society looks forward to further participation on this important national committee. For more information, e-mail communications@wismed.org.

Back to July 9, 2015 Medigram