HOW MIPS CAN BE AN ACCEPTABLE PROGRAM FOR CLINICIANS?

The argument that CMS needs to improve MIPS is a thing in the past. Now, the focus is on “how to devise ways that actually implement the change and stands true to its promise of a better healthcare system.

Let’s admit there is no standard way for any quality payment program to hit bull’s eye in its starting years. When a program is initiated and tested in a real-time environment, it gives insight on the actual performance and capability of the program; the same is the case with MIPS. Since, its first year in 2017, physicians are raising questions against its payment model.

Many leading healthcare organizations have proposed ideas that might help CMS to overcome related issues.

Reduce Un-Necessary Administrative Work

It is observed that there is a lot of administrative work associated with MIPS reporting. There is a lot of data that needs to be collected and managed to submit to CMS. One reason is the primary care and the value-based medical services that quality measures cover. This program can serve to be more physician-friendly if clinicians are not burdened with extensive administrative work.

MIPS solutions consist of elements from three major programs:

  • Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)
  • Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM)
  • Meaningful Use (MU)

CMS is working in this context and simplifying this quality payment program with the easy amalgamation of all elements.

However, clinicians are not satisfied and still face administrative burden while quality reporting. Most of the physicians have reservations regarding the relevance of MIPS quality measures to the program. Quality measures have been a special concern for surgeons because they have been evaluated on patient’s immunizations. This approach is particularly un-necessary for surgeons and reflects poorly on the intention.

Past president of The American Medical Association (AMA) David O. Barde, has provided with a list of suggestions in this regard.

  • Reduce the number of measures for which a physician can report.
  • Re-expand the definition of a facility in MIPS reporting to include all healthcare service providers; no matter wherever they are, such as post-acute care center.
  • Set a 90-day performance period for all MIPS measures.
    This way, physicians will be able to invest their energies in the right direction that is, on their patients.

Rethink and Modify Promoting Interoperability (PI) Category for MIPS

Promoting Interoperability (formerly known as Advancing Care Information (ACI)) performance category tests physicians’ patient the most. Via this category, CMS has tried to encourage physicians to incorporate certified usage of EHR technology.

According to some physicians, this category focuses entirely on EHR technology, instead of actual advancement in the healthcare system. However, they need to shift their focus on actual usage of technology and to translate digital health information on patient level. Only this way, the PI category will stand true to its name.
The reporting requirements for this quality measure should also be modified to make this category more useful for physicians.

Implement MIPS to its True Potential

MIPS has the potential to bring advancement in the healthcare industry. However, with the final rule of QPP for MIPS 2019, around 58% of the physicians are already excluded to even participate in this program. It will result in fewer payment adjustments for physicians who improved their healthcare quality.

According to the CMS, with higher reporting criteria, non-eligible physicians will have more time to improve their quality to the maximum level. Nevertheless, the question remains that the purpose of this program is to pay clinicians for their investment in medical practice, not to judge their improvement rate until it reaches a certain level.

In addition, small medical practices have fewer resources, therefore; their performance should be analyzed separately from large healthcare organizations. This will stir the air in the healthcare industry and encourage physicians to move towards valuable healthcare.

Many healthcare organizations want to target incentives and bonuses but due to the inflexibility of the program, they can’t strike on the right target. By acknowledging the resources and the improvement made by the medical practice, MIPS should recognize the efforts one made to comply with the burdensome MIPS reporting.

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WHAT IS ABOUT MIPS THAT IS MAKING PHYSICIANS UNHAPPY?

This ongoing period is the MIPS 2018 reporting season! Physicians and MIPS consulting services have buckled up their shoes to assemble appropriate clinical data that best favors medical practice in terms of financial matters and physicians’ reputation.

MIPS QPP promises physicians to take their financial journey one-step more towards the progressive road leading to a better healthcare system. The eventual objective is to build a healthcare system that makes both patient and physicians happy; patients with value-based care service and physicians with accurate reimbursements, incentives, and bonuses.

From the past two years, physicians tend to have several reservations regarding MIPS. In their first year, they were not sure about reporting criteria and MIPS quality measures. However, for MIPS 2018 reporting period, physicians learned from their mistakes and performed to actually use this system in their benefit.

MIPS Quality Measures Are Huge Set Back for Physicians

Even though, CMS acted upon some reservations for 2018. Still, there are voices raised against MIPS 2018 to trap physicians within penalty cycle that ultimately will lead to poor-quality services for patients.

  • According to the research of members of the American College of Physicians, around 37% of the 86 MIPS quality measures are not up-to-the-mark and can’t contribute to improved quality-care standards.
  • Physicians also explained that the given measures are not meaningful. In addition, the investment made to improve the quality of these measures just increase the administrative cost.

Approximately, medical practices are spending $15.4 billion per year in the USA-healthcare industry that means about $40,000 per physician to report for MIPS.

There is a debate that whether MIPS quality measures for the industry’s improvement are worth investment or not. Because, if they are not good enough, they are just a waste of money on the patient’s behalf.

For Instance,

According to Dr. Catherine MacLean (lead author of the analysis and chief value medical officer at the Hospital for Special Surgery), there is a quality measure that ensures all patients to have a blood pressure of 140/90 or lower. However, this may be lower for some patients.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has raised similar concerns. Therefore, Problematic areas of MIPS need to be overcome in order to improve healthcare quality standards and the payment model.

CMS Website Should be Updated on a Regular Basis

Moreover, physicians were facilitated with an online database to view their status. However, the CMS website doesn’t update on a regular basis. This may have led physicians to not meet reporting standards on time. All of the practices rely on the information provided by CMS. If data is not updated duly on the site, how will physicians ensure the accuracy of MIPS requirements? After all, the ultimate burden would have to be bear by physicians as a penalty or less MIPS score.

CMS is trying to Rectify Errors in MIPS!

According to the spokesperson of the CMS, they are very dedicated to look into every issue that is a hurdle in raising the quality levels of the healthcare system.

MIPS Success Depends Upon How Much CMS Pays Attention Towards Reservations!

The MIPS 2018 performance period is over however, it is compulsory for CMS to render each problem that is making physicians unhappy, rather than, forcing them to report aimlessly without any attraction.

Another way to ensure success in MIPS reporting is via hiring a professional MIPS consulting service as P3 Healthcare Solutions that provide the best MIPS solutions.

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THE POPULAR FAQS ABOUT MIPS – EXPLAINED!

Providing value-based healthcare services to patients and having a penalty-less spot in MIPS 2018 requires great effort. However, if strategize properly, physicians can get themselves incentives and bonuses from this program.

Knowing the MIPS program better and accordingly report MIPS quality measures to increase your chances of payment rate from CMS. Therefore, it is always the best to resolve any misconception that might disturb later.

Given below are some of the important FAQs about MIPS that might answer your MIPS queries.

Is saving from penalties in MIPS is not enough?

2018 was the second operational year of MIPS and the minimum threshold for penalties was 15%. This bar is expected to rise in the coming years with strict reporting criteria.

70 MIPS points are the threshold set to get incentives. However, when achieved score higher than that, physicians can qualify for the bonus pool of $500 million. Physicians’ score is displayed on website www.medicare.gov/physiciancompare. The high scorer physicians get an extreme reputation and well-renowned authorities like Medicare, AARP, and CMS endorse them as a brand in the healthcare industry.

Thus, targeting incentives rather than just aiming for a penalty-less spot can open success gateways.

If physicians are still eligible for MIPS, when not using EHR technology?

If you don’t use the 2014 version of EHR technology, physicians may not be able to earn points for Advancing Care Information (ACI), now known as Promoting Interoperability (PI). For maximizing your score, physicians can earn from MIPS quality measures of Quality and Improvement Activities (IA).

Does reporting data for more than 90 days increases chances of getting higher MIPS score?

Physicians can choose to report clinical data for 90 days or more for up to 12 months. However, your result is solely based on the performance you showed throughout the performance year.

Thus, choose report for the period that best suits your requirements and helps to increase the score.

What is the best practice, reporting as a group or an individual clinician?

Both practices benefit clinicians in their own manner so before deciding the best approach, consider the following points.

  • While reporting data to CMS in a group, all physicians will have the same payment rate. However, as an individual clinician, you’ll get your own payment rate. You have to decide which practice will benefit in more revenue generation.
  • Moreover, if any physician has a low-volume threshold, he will not be considered as an individual but as a member of the group.
  • In a multi-specialty group, some providers may find measures that are suitable for their practice, and conversely, they may not be suitable for others’ practice. In such cases, you have to choose measures that suit the single specialty of the medical practice.

Is there any exclusion for MIPS?

YES! Physicians are only excluded from the participation of MIPS when,

Medicare allowable is less than $30,000 or less than 100 Medicare patients in 12 months

The healthcare service provider is already a participant of Medicare Advanced APM

Hospital-based healthcare providers are exempted from ACI (MU) category. For them, 25% weight of this category is reassigned to Quality category making its worth to 85% in the final MIPS scorecard

What happens when a physician moves to another medical practice in the payment year?

MIPS score moves with the physician. Even, if you have moved to a new working place, your score will be based on the data reported in the last year, no matter what the medical practice is.

When you work in two different medical practices in the same year, your payment rate under the new TIN (Tax Identification Number) will base on the higher score among both.

What factors should be in mind while selecting MIPS Quality Measures?

Choosing the right MIPS measures, according to your practice is a difficult task so research properly about the following points.

There are 250 quality measures and 5 MIPS submission methods and some quality measures are only available for specific reporting methods, so how will you collect data and report to CMS?

Never report for a measure that has less than 20 eligible cases or no benchmark will receive 3 points.

Each reporting method has its own benchmark; thus, determine score by using the correct benchmark. For Example,

The same measure may have less benchmark when reported via a qualified registry as compared to EHR technology.

Above-mentioned points are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs). This article is all about clarifying those misconceptions, which may confuse physicians and block their way of success.

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MACRA MIPS – GET READY FOR THESE CHANGES IN 2019!

For those covered by Medicare, the paperwork requirements wait for your attention, as a physician, and you can’t take a step back from those duties.

Why has this become crucial for medical practices? Because the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 and MIPS incentives depend on fulfilling these requirements in the new value-based care system!

And, once you have followed these requirements in letter and spirit, 5% incentives add to your 2020 Medicare payments. Those of you, who don’t think much of this payment adjustment, think again! Because the adjustments increase your finances by huge numbers!

Not all of us are in it for monetary benefits. Nevertheless, the reputational advantage as a clinician will take your practice to the next level. People are going to recognize you as a clinician with superior healthcare knowledge and consider you as an authority in the industry.

To consider MACRA into your practice, upgrade your outdated EHR system to the 2015 certified EHR technology edition. And, consider doing so in case you are an old-fashioned paper-based practice. In addition to that, ensure the technology vendor is trust-worthy and has a history of meeting government proposals. A tip to remember here is that proper training of the staff goes hand in hand with the newly installed EHR system.

Prepare yourself for the few changes regarding exemptions under extreme conditions, an increase in the cost category’s weight, an increase in low-volume thresholds, and a boost to the cost performance category in 2019.

Change 1 – Exemptions under Harsh and Uncontainable Situations

CMS owns the fact that extreme conditions can affect gathering, storing and submitting patient information. Hence, in 2019, it gives more space to such clinicians under intense circumstances. According to Clinician Today, in the performance year 2017, the clinicians were not scrutinized for any lack of information if they had to face extreme conditions such as California wildfires.

The automatic exemptions expect to continue going forward in 2019. God forbid, if there are any acts of God or natural disasters, as a MIPS reporting physician, CMS will not put you on a penalty list. First, we pray that neither a flood nor a wildfire breaks around your practice. Second, choose P3 Healthcare Solutions MIPS consulting service for Quality measures and reporting other categories properly 1-844-557-3227.

info@p3care.com is the address you’ll be emailing your queries to.

Change 2 – Expect an Increase in the Weight of the Cost Category

As the Medicare reimbursement model transforms into the value-based care model, MIPS in healthcare will have the cost category hold more weight than in 2018. It was at 10% of the total weight in the previous year and it is going to stay that way or go higher in 2019.

Clinician Today mentions that the cost category is going to accommodate 30 percent of the total MIPS score (CPS) by the year 2022. By preparing early and maximizing on this category, your practice can achieve a decent MIPS final score. Consequently, everything falls in line with quality-based care.

To maintain the balance between categories, expect a formidable decrease in the weight of the Quality category at an equal level.

Change 3 – Expansion in Low-Volume Thresholds (LVT)

A Low-Volume Threshold (LVT) depends on the number of allowed Medicare Part B charges and the number of patients cared by an eligible clinician. There is a consistent increase in the LVT in subsequent years until 2018. And, 2019 is not going to be any different.

Currently, the LVT has more than or equal to 200 Medicare patients or your practice/group has billed more than or equal to $90,000 in Medicare Part B allowed charges. It was an uptick to MIPS 2017 requirements of 100 Medicare Part B patients or $30,000 Medicare Part B allowed charges.

You may not be eligible in the past year, but there is a high probability of your eligibility to MIPS submissions in 2019. Therefore, be well aware and as soon as you reach the Low-Volume Threshold, P3Care being a MIPS qualified registry, reports on your behalf so that you receive high incentives.

Change 4 – MIPS Cost Category to Experience a Boost

We can see the cost category weight rise to 15% in 2019. MIPS 2019 reporting is not going to be a child’s play because the focus on trimming healthcare expenses is now more than before. CMS suggests adjusting this raise by offsetting the Quality category from 50 to 45%.

Hence, be on the lookout for any changes in government regulations around Medicare reimbursements! Quality reporting aims to improve healthcare delivery and better compensation to the physicians.

We try to give you the insight into the world of medicine as it crosses paths with medical billing. P3 Healthcare Solutions deals with the revenue cycle management process efficiently when it comes to MIPS consulting and medical billing service in general. One remedy to stay updated with the latest Medicare MIPS reporting requirements is to follow the company page on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/p3-healthcare-solutions