Practice Managers Pan Medicare Quality Programs

Medicare physician quality reporting programs pose significant challenges to medical practices and don't bring any obvious benefits, so say a majority of medical practice managers in a new survey.

Medicare physician quality reporting programs pose significant challenges to medical practices and don’t bring any obvious benefits, so say a majority of medical practice managers in a new survey.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) recently asked its members about the Medicare reporting programs in a survey unveiled this week. They found 82% actively engage in internal programs to improve clinical quality, and nearly an identical amount, 83%, don’t believe the current Medicare quality reporting programs actually make it easier to provide high-quality patient care.

“Medicare has lost its focus with its physician quality reporting programs,” said Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs at the association. “Instead of providing timely, meaningful, and actionable information to help physicians treat patients, this has become a massive bureaucratic reporting exercise.”

Gilberg’s claim is backed up by MGMA’s poll numbers. More than 70% of respondents said Medicare’s quality reporting requirements are “very” or “extremely” complex. Respondents also said the programs affected productivity and morale within their offices.

The survey comes out as medical practices prepare for 2015, when the 3 main Medicare reporting programs will penalize physicians for unsuccessful reports, according to MGMA. Eventually, those fines could equal as much as 11% of Medicare payments.

The 3 main reporting programs are the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the meaningful-use EHR Incentive Program, and the Value-Based Payment Modifier Program.

Gilberg said each of these programs has its own set of “arcane and duplicative rules,” a fact that compounds the problem.

“MGMA continues to advocate for a single-harmonized Medicare quality improvement initiative that standardizes reporting and supports physicians in their efforts to improve care for patients,” Gilberg said.

More than 1,000 medical groups participated in the MGMA survey. Those respondents represent some 48,000 physicians nationwide, MGMA said.