Volume III, Issue 42

Oct. 17, 2016
Final MACRA Regs Bump More Than Half of Clinicians Out of MIPS
Robert Lowes, reporting for Medscape Medical News (Login/Complimentary Registration required) on October 14, 2016:

The federal government today issued final regulations for the Medicare Accountability and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which now exclude or exempt between 53% and 57% of physicians and other clinicians from a possible 2019 penalty in the new reimbursement system.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave roughly 200,000 more clinicians this break mostly by redefining practices that would not have to participate in the new system because their involvement with Medicare is minimal. In its proposed MACRA regulations, CMS defined such low-volume providers as having less than $10,000 in Medicare-allowable charges and fewer than 100 Medicare patients. By raising the dollar threshold to $30,000 in the final regulations, the agency bumped up the number of low-volume providers from 226,000 to 384,000.

According to Mr. Lowes:

Of these 384,000 low-volume providers, 46% work in practices with fewer than 10 physicians, according to CMS. Organized medicine had complained that many small practices lacked the time, money, and expertise to master the new payment program by the time it goes into effect in 2017. The agency has repeatedly said that it's heard those complaints and is trying to make the new system more physician-friendly.

... The final MACRA regulations issued today make it easier to get off the penalty hook by allowing physicians to pick a slower pace of implementation in 2017, an option that CMS floated last month. They can avoid a penalty - but not qualify for a bonus - merely by reporting their performance in one quality-of-care category or one practice-improvement category, for example.
23andMe, NIH work to reduce health research disparities among African Americans
New NIH grant fuels creation of African American sequencing panel for genetic research
23andMe, via PRNewswire, reports on 10/13/16:
23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced a new grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the creation of a genetic resource for health research in African Americans that could improve the understanding of diseases in minority populations.
The $1.7 million grant, issued from the National Human Genome Research Institute, will go toward leveraging 23andMe's data on more than one million customers who have consented to participate in research, creating an African American sequencing panel to be used as a reference dataset for health research. The de-identified genetic data will be made available to other health researchers at institutions around the world.

According to the press release.

"This project aims to help address health research disparities, specifically for African Americans," said the project's Principal Investigator, Adam Auton, a 23andMe senior scientist and statistical geneticist. "The hope is that this work will help improve our understanding of disease-causing genetic variants in minority populations, and that this in turn could improve treatments among people with non-European ancestry that have historically been underrepresented in health studies."
Some estimates from five years ago showed that more than 90 percent of the research into the genetics underlying disease has been conducted on people of European ancestry.
Physician Assistant Salary Report Released 
Megan Wood, in an October 13, 2016 Becker's ASC Review post, reports:
The American Academy of PAs released its "2016 AAPA Salary Report," including data from thousands of respondents. The report data is based on full-time clinically practicing PAs in the United States.




About Us
Florida Health Industry Week in Review is published every Monday by FHIcommunications

Each Monday morning we share the top healthcare headlines of the previous week and summarize What Happened (WH) and Why It Matters (WIM).

To learn how you can join our team of editorial contributors, contact Jeffrey Herschler.

Inside FloridaHealthIndustry.com

Publisher of...

Week in Review,
Specialty Focus,
Updates in Pediatrics, FHIweekly &
Game Changers
FHI logo cropped small version