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CMS Launches API to Help Clinicians with Quality Payment Program

November 17, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just released a tool that will allow clinicians to automatically share electronic data for the Medicare Quality Payment Program.

In October, with the release of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) final rule, CMS also released the Quality Payment Program website, an interactive site to help clinicians understand the program and successfully participate. The site aims to explain the new program and help clinicians identify the measures and activities most meaningful to their practice or specialty.

Today’s release, commonly referred to as an application program interface (API), builds on that site by making it easier for other organizations to retrieve and maintain the Quality Payment Program’s measures and enable them to build applications for clinicians and their practices, CMS officials noted.

The API, available at qpp.cms.gov/education, will allow developers to write software using the information described on the Explore Measures section of QPP.cms.gov. Based on interviews with clinicians, CMS created the Explores Measures tool, which enables clinicians and practice managers to select measures that likely fit their practice, assemble them into a group, and print or save them for reference. Already, tens of thousands of people are using this tool, CMS said.

MACRA is set to launch its first reporting period next year in which eligible Medicare clinicians will be reporting to the Quality Payment Program that determines a physician’s reimbursement based on the high quality, efficient care they provide that’s supported by technology.

Kate Goodrich, M.D., director of the CMS Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality said in a statement, “The API released today will continue CMS’s focus on user-driven design by providing developers and our partners the opportunity to turn our data into powerful applications. CMS is committed to collaborating with the organizations that doctors trust to make their lives easier, while supporting their efforts to improve the quality of care across America.”

Meanwhile, Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of CMS, added, “An important part of the Quality Payment Program is to make it easier and less expensive to participate, so clinicians may focus on seeing patients. This first release is a step in that process, both for physicians and the technologists who support them.”

In CMS’ press release, the agency pointed out that several groups have applauded the release of this information, including: the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NHRI), American College of Radiology (ACR), American College of Physicians (ACP), National Rural Accountable Care Consortium, Great Lakes PTN, Pacific Business Group on Health, Compass PTN, TMF QIN-QIO, and the Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation.

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