Since the passage of the 2009 HITECH act, the quality reporting and meaningful use criteria grew in complexity and breadth making the following of their program guidelines difficult. The proposed MACRA rule attempts to lessen the burden for physicians – a rule for provider organizations is under development – while working to better achieve goals of improved quality of care and effective use of information technology.
MACRA works to aggregate the current reporting programs into a more manageable form by offering two distinct reporting options and reducing the number of metrics required overall. The new Quality Payment Program offers two paths: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS, and the advanced Alternative Payment Models or APMs.
While some consider the Meaningful Use program a failure, this viewpoint contains overtones of “Monday morning quarterbacking.” Although the HITECH act focused on facilitating the implementation of EHRs, its inclusion in the broader American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signifies its general purpose to be part of an economic stimulus program focused on helping the US emerge from the deepest recession since the Great Depression. In retrospect, the Meaningful Use program should have focused on interoperability and the simple, seamless exchange of clinical information among providers of all types and disciplines.