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CMS Hits MIPS Participation Goal for Year One

June 4, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, 91 percent of all Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)-eligible clinicians participated in the first year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), exceeding the agency’s internal goal.

CMS set a goal to have 90-percent participation for MIPS-eligible clinicians in year one. What’s more, the submission rates for accountable care organizations (ACOs) and clinicians in rural practices were at 98 percent and 94 percent, respectively. “What makes these numbers most exciting is the concerted efforts by clinicians, professional associations, and many others to ensure high quality care and improved outcomes for patients,” Verma said in a blog post.

The first year of MIPS under MACRA’s QPP was dubbed by CMS as a “pick your pace year,” which essentially enabled clinicians to avoid payment penalties as long as they submitted at least the minimum amount of quality data. As such, it should be noted that the 91-percent participation rate does not factor in a breakdown of how much data clinicians submitted, as well as who received penalties and bonuses. Indeed, it’s possible that many clinicians in the program simply submitted just one measure to avoid a penalty.

In her blog post, Verma pointed to policies the government has developed to further reduce the burden that MIPS reporting puts on providers—as outlined in the QPP final rule for 2018. Verma specifically referred to:

  • Reducing the number of clinicians that are required to participate giving them more time with their patients, not computers.
  • Adding new bonus points for clinicians who are in small practices, treat complex patients, or use 2015 Edition Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT) exclusively as a means of promoting the interoperability of health information.
  • Increasing the opportunity for clinicians to earn a positive payment adjustment.
  • Continuing to offer free technical assistance to clinicians in the program.

Verma added, “Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 we have additional authority to continue our gradual implementation of certain requirements for three more years to further reduce burden in areas of MIPS.”

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