MACRA, MIPS, and the New Medicare Quality Payment Program: An Update for Radiologists

J Am Coll Radiol. 2017 Mar;14(3):316-323. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2016.10.012. Epub 2016 Dec 21.


The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 advances the goal of tying Medicare payments to quality and value. In April 2016, CMS published an initial proposed rule for MACRA, renaming it the Quality Payment Program (QPP). Under QPP, clinicians receive payments through either advanced alternative payment models or the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a consolidation of existing federal performance programs that applies positive or negative adjustments to fee-for-service payments. Most physicians will participate in MIPS. This review highlights implications of the QPP and MIPS for radiologists. Although MIPS incorporates radiology-specific quality measures, radiologists will also be required to participate in other practice improvement activities, including patient engagement. Recognizing physicians' unique practice patterns, MIPS will provide special considerations in performance evaluation for physicians with limited face-to-face patient interaction. Although such considerations will affect radiologists' likelihood of success under QPP, many practitioners will be ineligible for the considerations under currently proposed criteria. Reporting using qualified clinical data registries will benefit radiologists' performance by allowing expanded arrays of MIPS and non-MIPS specialty-specific measures. A group practice reporting option will substantially reduce administrative burden but introduce new challenges by requiring uniform determination of patient-facing status and performance measurement for all of the group's physicians (diagnostic radiologists, interventional radiologists, and nonradiologists) under the same taxpayer identification number. Given that the initial MIPS performance period begins in 2017, radiologists must begin preparing for QPP and taking actions to ensure their future success under this new quality-based payment system.

Keywords: Health policy; Medicare; payment reform; radiologists; radiology.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S.
  • Diagnostic Imaging / economics*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal*
  • Humans
  • Medicare / economics*
  • Physician Incentive Plans*
  • Prospective Payment System / economics*
  • Radiologists*
  • United States