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Physician Practice Perspectives

The start of 2017 marked the beginning of a transitional period for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). And for the most part, physicians and analysts consider the changes approved last year by CMS to be a solid start to reducing the complexity and burdensome requirements that have plagued quality reporting and meaningful use programs.


Healthcare information technology (IT) associations have endorsed some aspects of the federal government’s revisions to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, but one group says the changes don’t address a major barrier preventing providers from sharing information with one another.


Nearly a dozen states in the U.S. have approved laws that treat e-cigarettes the same way as combustible cigarettes, but no state has gone as far as California, where state legislators raised the minimum smoking age to 21 and voters approved a heavy tax on the sale of regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes.


While most analysts agree that any substantial changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are unlikely this year, even minor changes to the ACA could result in millions of newly insured people losing insurance and millions fewer new-patient office visits in 2018 and beyond. And those changes could come at a time when physicians are struggling with escalating costs and flat reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.


For years, physicians have had little clear guidance for patients with questions about e-cigarettes and whether they’re a safer alternative to traditional smoking. But that changed in December 2016 when the Surgeon General issued a report that said e-cigarettes represent a public health hazard to teens and young adults and should not be used by adults as part of smoking cessation programs.


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