The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued a final rule with comment period implementing key provisions of the new physician payment system required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The law repeals the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate methodology for updates to the Medicare physician fee schedule and requires CMS to establish a new physician quality and value-based payment program – the Quality Payment Program – that starts in calendar year 2019. Eligible clinicians will participate in one of two tracks – the default Merit-based Incentive Payment System or alternative payment models. The rule finalizes most of the key policies for the 2019 QPP. It also finalizes policies related to blocking of health information and electronic health record surveillance that apply to all hospitals, critical access hospitals and physicians. Finally, CMS requests comments on certain new or modified proposals. AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said the final rule “presents challenges and opportunities for hospitals and health systems, and the nearly 540,000 directly employed or contracted physicians with whom they partner to deliver quality care… We continue to review the details of the final rule and will provide guidance to hospitals and their clinician partners. As implementation moves forward, we remain committed to making sure patients benefit from the transformation of care envisioned by MACRA.” AHA members today received a Special Bulletin with more detailed information.