More Fed carrots? Or just a different stick? #MACRA #MIPS

Secretary Azar says HHS may cease reporting requirements for MIPS “value-based” care. Perhaps you’re beginning to think that they are finally hearing us, right?

However reading further, things get murky fast:

Instead of requiring physicians who participate in MIPS to submit patient data, the proposal suggests having the government use claims data and patient surveys to grade doctors in the program. “We would be able to independently look at data ourselves to decide their compliance with the quality programs rather than their having to even report anything,” Azar said at Thursday’s hearing.

Here’s what some physicians are saying about this “new direction” from HHS:

  • I’m not going to celebrate just yet. Think of how often HHS/CMS have replaced a bad idea they had, with an even worse idea. If they begin using patient surveys (Press Gainey, etc.) to determine whether or not physicians are given a bonus or penalty, I think that could actually make this awful MIPS experiment even worse.
  • We must be careful what we ask for- and we must control the conversation. There is no reason the government needs to be involved at all – that’s the beautiful thing about the free market – the patient receiving the service determines the value – but the patient must have an  appreciable fiduciary responsibility and they vote with their wallet – good restaurants are busy – bad restaurants are closed – really quite simple.
  • MACRA/MIPS  is fatally flawed.  Patients are individuals and cannot be reduced to an algorithm.
  • There is nothing salvageable or workable in the MIPS system. There is no way on paper and with claims that physician skill, judgement or even outcomes can be legitimately assessed. Further, major institutions are rethinking patient evaluations of physicians, realizing that it is a one way system-i.e. there is no way to evaluate the validity of the patient evaluation and no way for the physician to respond.
    In my opinion our best/only meaningful way of reform is to condemn the entire MACRA/MIPS construct as wasteful and invalid without adding anything to patient care. In fact a point can be made that it detracts from actual care.
  • We should have a say in the type of patient survey they set up. And this should decide only incentives not penalties. The only difference between this and MIPS is that with MIPS we can lose money after spending it on data collection, whereas here we avoid double jeopardy because they do their own data collection and we don’t have to attest to anything. Overall I think what they have suggested is better than MIPS.
  • I just had a very cranky daughter complain about the resident who called her sister rather than her when her mother took a turn for the worst. She would give that resident a failing grade. So much subjectivity makes those evaluation meaningless. Also, when grading a physician on outcomes, which physician can take credit for which specific outcome? Many physicians are often involved. This evaluation scheme is totally unworkable.

I think you’ll agree there is more than a bit of skepticism that CMS is going to meaningfully change things for the better. Tell us what you think!

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This is How You Fix Congress! Congress Reform Act of 2018

We originally posted this solution back in 2013. These changes are needed now more than ever:

1. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

2. No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay or any other benefits when they’ve completed their term in office.

3.  Congress loses their current taxpayer paid health care insurance during and after tenure and must purchase their own health care insurance by the same laws and rules as the American people.

4.  Members of Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

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MACRA MIPS? Time for GACRA GIPS to hold lawmakers accountable.

How can we hold Congress accountable for the failed policy they continue to foist on American patients and doctors?

Meet GACRA GIPS, the Government Accountability Credibility Realignment Assessment and Government Incentive Payment System.

With GACRA GIPS, if congressmen and congresswomen don’t work, vote, complete their tasks and create a budget that lives within our means well paying down the national debt, they don’t get paid.

Learn more about this needed reform in the latest article by IP4PI founder Craig M. Wax, DO published by Medical Economics:

http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/your-voice-physician-accountability-let-s-legislate-congressional-accountability

The fatal flaw, or poison pill, of our entire healthcare system … is we’ve tried to make it a system.

Robert Nelson MD of the Georgia Chapter, Free Market Medical Association, writes in:

The fatal flaw, or poison pill, of our entire healthcare system, is that we’ve tried in vane to make it a system.

We set aside everything we knew about human behavior and motivation and behavioral economics and pretended it didn’t exist. We based interventional policy on myths such Roemer’s Law. We tied it to employment by using the tax code. We handicapped markets with McCarran-Ferguson. We handicapped Physicians and other providers with HIPAA. We perverted insurance with all manner of mandate such that it violated every principle of what insurance is supposed to do. This has created Health insulation rather than health insurance.

Then the geniuses thought they can fix it with HMO and then PPOs and now ACOs and all the rest of the alphabet soup that they serve up. All of this has one thing in common and that is price opacity. We have not had a market failure we’ve had one giant pricing failure. We put healthcare on an island and treated it differently and treated it weirdly and regulated it excessively.

Many have gotten wealthy but patients are suffering and doctors are demoralized.

EHR MU Meaningful Use Enters the Just Kidding Phase

Anthony Wunsch writes:

Well all, I have written many an article on the pitfalls fo EHR systems, cost versus reward, interoperability among providers from different systems and networks, time spent doing data entry rather than patient interaction. When first required this industry spent $450 billion to meet meaningful use requirements phase one, and created a $10 billion per year support need. And that was phase one which completely left out the actual medical care, then phase two came and they said oops we forgot some things, billions more wasted to update, and then phase three and now the just kidding phase.

It was technology introduced backwards, it went to market and used the end users as the beta tests. And as the financing mechanism for those beta test. Any other technology the developers would have funded the development and brought it to market after being perfected, (relative term for technology).

In the end the industry ate the cost and passed it on to patients in the form of higher costs, with not an ounce of evidence it was going to decrease cost or improve care.

And in the end the whole push was so we could move into population health management; please don’t get me started on that rant.

Top Four Reasons Insurance Companies Price Gouge Americans

1.  ObamaCare.

ACA regulations drive costs up and mandates punish those who try to say “no.”

2.  Hospital hidden pricing.

Insurers are complicit with hospitals in blocking patients from price shopping. Insurance CEOs want you to believe you need their product to avoid price gouging but often the opposite is true. Middlemen profit when no one knows the price.

3. Pharma costs.

Ubiquitous third-party payment keeps Rx prices (and premiums) soaring. And the PBM crony capitalists are blocking the pharmacist from telling you that the cash price is often lower than your insurance co-pay.

4. They can.

It’s time for patients and doctors to say “no” to the cartels and demand real options

The AMA is utter garbage. But, you knew that.

Here they go again. Once again the AMA is promoting what’s best for the big government / big insurance / big hospital cartel instead of advocating solutions that will truly empower patients, physicians, and increase access to high-quality, low-cost care.