Proposed MACRA rule could support clinician screening of health-harming legal needs

Monday, July 10, 2017

A critical part of making sure that legal services are available as part of quality healthcare is ensuring that screening for legal needs is a recognized and reimbursable activity for health care providers. A new proposed addition to the rule for The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is a critical step in that direction. Support the change by submitting comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by August 21.

Background

In the newly released proposed rule for MACRA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) included “screening for health-harming legal needs” as a recognized Improvement Activity under Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). If it remains included in the final rule, clinicians who screen patients for legal needs will receive credit for Practice Improvements that Engage Community Resources to Support Patient Health Goals under the Improvement Activities category. They also may receive credit under the ACI category, both of which will contribute to their overall MIPS score. This could potentially lead to an increased payment rate, and set the stage for physician reimbursements in the future.

What You Can Do

To help ensure this remains in the final MACRA rule:

  • Submit a comment to CMS sharing your support of “screening for health-harming legal needs” as an Improvement Activity.

In your comment, applaud CMS for recognizing the value in screening patients for legal needs as a Practice Improvements that Engage Community Resources to Support Patient Health Goals. Encourage CMS to weight the activity as “high” given the amount of unreimbursed clinician time, effort, and coordination needed to screen patients and develop referral pathways to community-based resources. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, August 21. Click here to submit electronic comments.

Written comments can be mailed to:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: CMS-5522-P
P.O. Box 8013
Baltimore, MD 21244-8013

  • Share this information with your professional organizations and ask them to comment as well.

If you have questions, please contact Molly MacHarris at CMS: (410) 786-4461.