More than half of healthcare providers (64 percent) are “unprepared” or “very unprepared” for managing and executing Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) initiatives, according to the 5th annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey conducted by Stoltenberg Consulting Inc.
The survey was conducted at the 2017 Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in Orlando included participants from practice management, project management, director and c-suite roles. IT professionals (53 percent) led survey participation, while executive/C-suite representation (42 percent) followed closely behind.
– A majority (68 percent) of participants voiced that preparation and compliance with MACRA should be a combined effort across clinical, financial and IT departments.
– Additionally, “revising data management/reporting mechanisms to meet new reporting requirements” was deemed the top QPP challenge (31 percent), while “motivating the entire organization to collectively work together to achieve program alignment goals” (29 percent) came close.
– Lack of budget (44%) and lack of qualified, experienced job candidates to fill health IT positions (43%) were closely cited as the top reasons why healthcare organizations are not fully staffed in their IT departments.
– 54% of respondents said finding qualified health IT staff and support is “difficult,” while 28% of survey participants reported it as “very difficult.”
“Success with MACRA requires a joint effort of IT and departmental resources to successfully combine clinical, financial and operational data,” Smith said. “This effort commands not only a deep technical knowledge of how and where to extract and transform the right data, but also a solid understanding of how to integrate it in such a way that the resulting data demonstrates that an organization meets objective criteria for its chosen reporting path.”
The survey also provides four key tips to help organizations who may be facing the same challenges as the survey participants:
1. Healthcare IT staff must possess unique skill set
One reason healthcare organizations may struggle to find qualified IT candidates is because staff are often required to have a wide range of skills spanning clinical, financial and operational aspects of organizations. Experts can also offer IT project guidance across the full continuum of care from both a financial and clinical perspective, which will also develop staff skills and experience with knowledge transfer.
2. Invest in training and support
Instead of only recruiting new staff, healthcare organizations could develop their own qualified IT staff by investing in focused training for high-potential, less experienced employees, while seek advisors who can offer insight and training.
3. Team-approach for MACRA success
MACRA replaces the old sustainable growth-rate (SGR) formula for physician payment, transitioning focus from fee-for-service to value-based care. It aims to streamline and increase provider accountability for quality outcomes and cost reduction. Successful MACRA QPP reporting will take more than just passive submission of claim data, which was the primary mechanism of the programs it is replacing.
4. Create a MACRA QPP roadmap
The first step for this multidisciplinary team is to acquire a solid understanding of MACRA QPP. With this foundation, the team can more effectively assess reporting mechanisms and identify where reporting gaps occur and how those will be mitigated. The team should then create a multi-year roadmap including alternative QPP path considerations that indicate the potential impact on reimbursement.
Featured image credit: Kentucky REC