As you are all aware, MACRA is entering its third year on the way to full implementation by 2022. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s goal is to focus on positive quality services, patient care outcomes and healthcare costs. During 2019 it will focus primarily on patient care cost and when fully implemented by 2022, otolaryngologists will be paid based on the quality and cost of the care they deliver. Part of our mission is to comply so we can survive, but as an academic medical center, we are also charged with training the next generation of otolaryngologists to successfully enter the new healthcare environment. Initially, I thought there would be a lot of resistance, but proudly, our otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residents not only bought into the concept but are actually leading the charge within the GME environment at the Medical College of Georgia. Our department has 11 active major quality initiatives, all led by our residents who are mentored by department faculty members, with some of the projects projected to have a major impact on our health system. One of the projects is looking at coordinating involved care professionals so that in-patient discharge orders are completed by 08:00 am on the day of discharge. The coordination involves communication of all involved within the context of the electronic health record and secure digital messaging. Another project is looking at increasing new patient access in our clinics and yet another completely eliminated all skin pressure ulcers in tracheostomy patients. It is obvious then why we are so excited and so proud of our department and residency program. We are excited about what the New Year promises and we will continue to strive for the highest possible quality of patient care and otolaryngology education. I wish you the best of health and happiness.
Stil Kountakis, MD, PhD