Posts Tagged ‘Quality Payment Program’

4 Ways CMS 2018 Quality Payment Program Supports ‘Patients Over Paperwork’ Pledge

November 6th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

“Patients Over Paperwork” is committed to removing regulatory obstacles that get in the way of providers spending time with patients.

Year 2 of the CMS Quality Payment Program promises continued flexibility and reduced provider burden, according to the program’s final rule with comment issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last week.

The Quality Payment Program (QPP), established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), is a quality payment incentive program for physicians and other eligible clinicians that rewards value and outcomes in one of two ways: through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

A QPP Year 2 fact sheet issued by CMS highlights 2018 changes for providers under the QPP’s MIPS and APM tracks. The Year 2 fact sheet noted that stakeholder feedback helped to shape policies for QPP Year 2, and that  “CMS is continuing many of its transition year policies while introducing modest changes.”

In keeping with the federal payor’s recently launched “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative, QPP Year 2 reflects the following changes:

    • More options for small practices (groups of 15 or fewer clinicians). Options include exclusions for individual MIPS-eligible clinicians or groups with less than or equal to $90,000 in Part B allowed charges or less than or equal to 200 Part B beneficiaries, opportunities to earn additional points, and the choice to form or join a virtual group.
    • Addresses extreme and uncontrollable circumstances, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, for both the 2017 transition year and the 2018 MIPS performance period, by offering hardship exception applications and limited exemptions.
    • Includes virtual groups as another participation option for Year 2. A virtual group is a combination of two more taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) made up of solo practitioners and groups of 10 or fewer eligible clinicians who come together ‘virtually’ (no matter specialty or location) to participate in MIPS for a performance period of a year. A CMS Virtual Groups Toolkit provides more information, including the election process to become a virtual group.
    • Makes it easier for clinicians to qualify for incentive payments by participating in Advanced APMs that begin or end in the middle of a year. Updated QPP policies for 2018 further encourage and reward participation in APMs in Medicare.
  • CMS describes its Patients Over Paperwork effort as “a cross-cutting, collaborative process that evaluates and streamlines regulations with a goal to reduce unnecessary burden, increase efficiencies and improve the beneficiary experience. This effort emphasizes a commitment to removing regulatory obstacles that get in the way of providers spending time with patients.”

    CMS Quality Payment Program: Clinicians Should Expect MIPS Participation Status Letter This Month

    May 4th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

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    CMS has specified two key criteria for MIPS participation.

    The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is reviewing claims and letting practices know which clinicians need to take part in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), according to information on MLNConnects, the CMS Medical Learning Network.

    MIPS is an important part of the new Quality Payment Program (QPP). In late April through May, clinicians will get a letter from their Medicare administrative contractor that processes Medicare Part B claims, providing the participation status of each MIPS clinician associated with their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

    Clinicians should participate in MIPS in the 2017 transition year if they meet the following conditions:

    • Bill more than $30,000 in Medicare Part B allowed charges a year; and
    • Provide care for more than 100 Part B-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries a year.

    The QPP intends to shift reimbursement from the volume of services provided toward a payment system that rewards clinicians for their overall work in delivering the best care for patients. It replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and streamlines the “Legacy Programs:” Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value-based Payment Modifier, and the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program.

    During this first year of the QPP program, CMS said it is committed to working with clinicians to streamline the process as much as possible. The federal payor stated that its goal is to further reduce burdensome requirements so that providers can deliver the best possible care to patients.

    5-Part Framework for MIPS Success Under MACRA

    March 2nd, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

    Before picking MACRA pace, physician practices should construct a framework for MIPS success.

    Along with picking a MACRA pace, physician practices should construct a framework for MIPS success.

    Regardless of the pace a healthcare organization sets for Quality Payment Program participation, there are some key tactics that should form the framework of any MACRA initiative. Here, William Holding, consultant with PDA Inc., outlines the critical elements organizations need to achieve “MACRA-readiness.”

    • The first component for success is perhaps the most important, and that’s having a culture of provider support. A willingness to explore new options. This component is free, so if you don’t have that culture in place today, before going and investing in analytics products, performance improvement or new staffing, you’ve got to put this culture in place. We have seen organizations do this successfully, and make the journey into accountable care organizations (ACOs) or value-based programs by working on this piece first.
    • Second is strategic planning. Set measurable goals. That’s important. Look ahead one year, two years, three years. Set goals that have timelines, and goals that are reasonably achievable.
    • The next piece is strong leadership. If you don’t have a quality committee or a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) committee, consider establishing one, and establishing a position lead in that program. It should be a multidisciplinary effort. Pull physicians, mid-levels, nursing leadership, IT and program management into that program. You should have tailored reporting strategies that align with your planning efforts.

      I’ve experienced teams that didn’t work well. In working with large systems, even with the support of clinical leadership and with the right analytical skills, efforts, I have witnessed efforts that were slower than they should have been until they brought in the right team member. This team member possessed in-depth knowledge of clinical workflows, had clout within the organization, knew personnel across IT, could talk to providers, and was a good communicator. When that person was on the team, the efforts began to move forward much faster. You’ve got to find the right people to be involved.

    • Next, data analytics is key. This starts with an individual with the right skills. It doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive solution for this. Sometimes ad hoc solutions work just fine for certain organizations. However, you need the right individual who knows the data, who knows how to respond to requests from leadership, and who can really own it.
    • Lastly, clinical documentation is essential. Doing that well will improve your position in this program.

    Source: Physician MACRA-Readiness: Mining QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize MIPS Performance

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    Physician MACRA-Readiness: Mining QRUR and Other CMS Data to Maximize MIPS Performance describes the wealth of data analytics available from the CMS Enterprise Portal—Quality Resource Use Reports (QRURs) and other analyses providing a window into practice performance under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS is one of two MACRA reimbursement paths and the one where most physician practices are expected to align.

    CMS to Physicians: 3 Things You Really Need to Know About MACRA

    June 20th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

    It is expected that most physician practices will opt for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under new MACRA-mandated reimbursement strategies.

    It is expected that most physician practices will opt for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under new MACRA-mandated reimbursement strategies.

    While digesting the implications of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) can be an understandable distraction for physicians, the goal of the MACRA program is to return the focus to patient care, not spend time learning a new program, emphasized CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt to members of the American Medical Association during the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago last week.

    Early in Slavitt’s comments, available in their entirety in a June 2016 post in the CMS blog, he posed the following two questions to physicians: What do you really need to know about the MACRA program? And what new sets of requirements are there to participate?

    At the outset of his explanation, Slavitt emphasized Medicare will still pay for services as it always has, but every physician and other participating clinicians will have the opportunity to be paid more for better care and for making investments that support patients—like having a staff member follow up with patients at home.

    As the AMA, AAFP and other physician support organizations have done, CMS will provide comprehensive MACRA documentation, Slavitt assured the association. “We will, of course, provide information in as much or as little detail as is helpful. For those who like to read computer manuals end-to-end, there is of course the 900-page proposed rule complete with every detail about how the regulation and the law is proposed to work. But, for most people, who do not need to see every scenario and how each element of the formula works, there are webinars, in-person meetings, fact sheets, and web portals that will bring all the information to suit various needs.”

    Slavitt then outlined three immediate features of the program designed as improvements over Medicare’s existing payment system:

    • First, MACRA sunsets three disjointed programs. If you participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value Modifier, and the Meaningful Use program, your life just got simpler, as they are replaced with a single, aligned Quality Payment Program, which will reduce reporting requirements, eliminate duplication, and reduce the number of measures. For those who participate in MACRA Alternative Payment Models, those requirements are reduced further or eliminated.
    • Second, it also reduces the combined possible downward adjustment of 9 percent that is occurring today from the three programs to a maximum of 4 percent in the first year of the Quality Payment Program. The program is designed to build up over the course of several years, with more modest financial impacts in the first year when the vast majority of physicians are expected to be in the MIPS part of the program.
    • Third, while the Merit-Based Incentive portion of the law is designed to be budget neutral in general, there are new opportunities for additional bonuses. In MIPS, in addition to the 4 percent positive payment adjustment, there is the potential for much higher payments through $500 million in funding over six years. Physicians earn a 5 percent lump sum bonus for participating in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model.

    Under the current proposed timing, the first physician reporting isn’t due until early 2018 for the first performance period in 2017, Slavitt said. Off-the-shelf tools like Certified EHRs and clinical data registries can provide complete capabilities, but other options exist as well, including most types of reporting that a physician is doing today.

    If CMS can get data automatically or through another source, it will do so, he stated, before moving on to MACRA implementation and priorities.

    Editor’s Note: To briefly outline MACRA and advise on physician practice focus for the remainder of 2016 to avoid reimbursement penalties in 2017 based on the MACRA proposed rule, the Healthcare Intelligence Network will hold a 45-minute webinar on July 14, 2016: The New Physician Quality Reporting: Positioning Your Practice for MACRA’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.