November 10-15

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ACR Convergence 2023

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Roles for rheumatology staff evolve as MACRA takes effect


2 minutes

All healthcare professionals who work in rheumatology had to start adapting to a new landscape of reporting and documentation on Jan. 1 of this year, when the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, began.

As the changeover continues, the Sunday ARHP session Your New Role in the Era of MACRA: Tips & Tools for Rheumatology Staff will explore the expanding role of rheumatology health professionals partnering with physicians in this new management framework. The 90-minute session starts at 4:30 pm in Room 11 B.

Speakers for the session will be Terence Starz, MD, of Arthritis and Internal Medicine Associates in Pittsburgh, PA; Janet Bahr, NP, of Gundersen Health System in Onalaska, WI; and Theodore Pincus, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Terence Starz, MD
Terence Starz, MD

“Fundamentally, MACRA is the way Medicare payments will be made to more than 400,000 clinicians nationwide,” Dr. Starz said. “The system is still evolving, and although it’s going to be challenging, this represents an enormous opportunity for us, as healthcare professionals, to have a very meaningful impact in creating a system that provides the best care possible for our patients.”

A big part of that impact will come in the form of an increased emphasis on the integration and reporting of quality and outcome measures. A significant portion of this session will focus on strategies to meet accountability requirements for MACRA and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Theodore Pincus, MD
Theodore Pincus, MD

“Quality measures, improvement activities, care information, and cost measures are among the essential ingredients by which payments will be determined annually,” Dr. Pincus said. “Quantitative measurement of symptoms, such as physical function, pain, fatigue, and other patient concerns using a patient self-report questionnaire in routine care, for example, will help meet new requirements and also improve patient care.”

Session speakers will review specific practical recommendations for rheumatology staff to participate in the development of a new practice management framework in which their varied skills will be crucial to delivering high-quality care and satisfying MACRA requirements.

Janet Bahr, NP
Janet Bahr, NP

“Moving forward, practices need to look at ways to engage the entire staff — nurse practioners, physician assistants, nurses, medical assistants, and office assistants — in implementing and teaching quality and outcome measures to facilitate the changes that are occurring,” Bahr said. “It’s important to be proactive now because some changes are already here, and more are coming. These changes will impact reimbursement in the future and if your practice is not getting ready now, it may be challenging to catch up.”

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