You can’t run and there is nowhere left to hide—MACRA is coming. If you are like many in the neurology community who feel as though Medicare’s new regulations are going to eat you alive, you can take heart: The Axon Registry® is here to save you.
The Axon Registry was built specifically for neurologists to collect and submit the required patient data to CMS that is soon to be required under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). And 2017 is the data collection year for MACRA. That means you have only a few months left to turn in practice data that will determine penalties, and in some cases benefits, for your practice going forward.
The Axon Registry was developed to help you get this done quickly and easily, and it is free for members of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). According to Lyell K. Jones, MD, chair of the AAN’s Registry Committee,
The Axon Registry is part of your solution. Not an added burden. It can automatically extract data from your EMR. You can have all your data extracted at night while you are sleeping.” And “there are all sorts of security measures in place, so it is both HIPAA compliant and real-world safe.”
In 2016, CMS approved Axon as a QCDR, (Qualified Clinical Data Registry), which means it can serve as a reporting mechanism for all Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) components of MACRA. To date, the registry has recorded more than a million encounters with data from almost 600,000 neurology patients. According to Jones, they hope to have 2,000 neurologists enrolled by the end of 2017.
Unlike other reporting methods, which include using claims or the CMS Web Interface, Axon is tailored to neurologists and includes the most quality measures relevant to their specialty. Reporting aside, Jones says,
The fundamental value of Axon is that you get to evaluate the quality of your practice and improve your performance over time. You went into neurology because you enjoy taking care of patients, not because you love ticking boxes or gaming the Medicare system. Axon Registry gives real-time feedback on quality so you can see how you are doing with individual patients and react in real time.”
For example, Jones is a neuromuscular neurologist which means he often sees patients with peripheral neuropathy. One quality measure in these cases is whether a diabetes or pre-diabetes screening is done. He can look into the Axon registry data and find out exactly how often he ordered this screening and for whom. If he feels it would be an improvement in his care to perform these measures more often, he can then implement a system in his practice to ensure that he does.
Jones says the Axon Registry currently has 26 neurology-specific quality measures and they plan to add more every year. Some of the measures they are working on include those for child neurology, neuro-oncology, and concussion.
Whether you want to use the Axon Registry to improve care or to optimize your participation in MACRA (or both), the AAN is eager to help you learn how to use it. Their site, www.aan.com/practice/axon-registry, is a behemoth of information. But don’t let that scare you, they are on your side.