MIPS 2020 reporting, MIPS Qualified registry, QPP MIPS, MIPS 2020 program, MIPS 2019

Surgeons: Tips for Successful MIPS 2020 Reporting

One thing that we learn from the year 2020 for sure is uncertainty. COVID-19 pandemic has left us in a state of doubt where we can’t be too sure of our present and, clearly, not of the future.

QPP MIPS reporting program of 2019 also had to face delays due to this catastrophe with overburdened staff, doctors, and suppliers associated with them any capacity. The closing date for MIPS 2019 went one-month further to facilitate clinicians busy dealing with the surge in COVID-19 patients. It was indeed a rollercoaster ride for them from the very first day.

MIPS 2020 reporting, however, is still very much happening and clinicians are required to submit data as individuals, groups, and virtual groups to receive positive payment adjustments. One of the ways to do that is to score above 45.

Contrary to the previous years, MIPS 2020 program requires clinicians to submit data for all the reportable performance categories to avoid negative payment adjustments. Regardless of the method you use, it is not possible to score above 45 by submitting only the Quality measures.

  1. Check Your Participation Status

The first thing to do while reporting MIPS 2020 is to check whether you are eligible for the program or not. Special statuses qualification also awaits certain surgeons. Once you are there, include your NPI to display the required participation status.

Surgeons with special statuses may get bonus points and also have their categories reweighted.

  1. Select Quality Measures Carefully

Instead of being casual about the Quality measures, my next tip is to be careful about them. It is crucial to choose only those Quality measures with benchmarks that do not limit your points that you may score on that measure.

For example, many surgery-driven measures are topped-out, and you can score as much as 7 points through them, which may tempt you to look for other measures, outcome measures, or high-priority measures resulting in bonus points.

  1. Participate in COVID-19 Clinical Trials Improvement Activity

While the COVID-19 pandemic has left us with many questions, it poses a challenge to humanity to figure a way out of it. Thankfully, MIPS 2020 reporting, now, has a new high-weighted COVID-19 clinical trial activity to add to the total scores for MIPS eligible clinicians. While it is an opportunity to score high, it can help you receive recognition for breakthroughs you are making against COVID-19.

The two ways you can utilize this IA and receive credit for it:

  • Participate in a COVID clinical trial and have that data become part of a data portal for an ongoing study; or
  • Caring for COVID patients, you may submit clinical data to the clinical data registry for future references.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) hold Covid-19 clinical trials, and that is where participation starts. The goal of this Improvement Activity (IA) is to innovate and improve the collection of COVID-19 information that the clinicians have and develop best practices in patient care as COVID-19 drags on.

Let’s hope for the best outcomes shortly. MIPS Qualified Registries submit measures for all the reportable measures. Therefore, signing up with one of those registries is a good start.

Scoring Cases for Clinicians with Special Statuses

The cost category is excluded from the examples below because the category uses complex claims data to calculate scores.

  • Scoring example for clinicians who are eligible for PI exemptions

    • 25% of the weight of the PI category transfers into Quality, reweighting it to 70% of the total score.
    • (26 measure points in Quality are equal to 30 MIPS points approximately) + (IA’s complete submission is equal to 15 points) = 45 points
  • Scoring example for physician groups of 15 or fewer

    • If they report at least one Quality measure, they receive six bonus points for the Quality category.
    • (20 measure points + 6 bonus points in Quality = around 30 MIPS points) + (IA’s complete submission is equal to 15 points) = 45 MIPS points

Recommendation of the American College of Surgeons

45 is the safest score for MIPS 2020 submissions regardless of the submission method you use. American College of Surgeons also recommends the above techniques to score high and handsome and stay at ease in the compliance program.

There are no changes in eligibility status and opt-in determinations. The criteria are simple, and with the COVID situation going on, MIPS eligible clinicians can also report their preparation and planning in regards to receive reimbursements.

The threshold is certainly high this time, but clinicians who are prepared and have good specialty-specific measures to report can show outstanding performance.

So, there’s nothing to fear. It’s just a program for clinicians to get incentives as a reward to improve their quality care delivery.

How CMS determines MIPS eligibility?

CMS updates, QPP MIPS, MIPS Data Submission, MIPS 2020, Eligible physicians, professional healthcare services, QPP MIPS 2020, medical practice

How CMS Determines MIPS Eligibility?

The QPP MIPS participation starts from knowing the eligibility status. For MIPS 2020, clinicians can check eligibility via QPP Lookup Tool. Later on, CMS updates the eligibility status that if physicians can report data to them or not.

However, the reporting requirements change each year due to changed policies.

 MIPS 2020 Eligibility Check Requirements

According to the official website, interested clinicians must have:

  • National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • Associated Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs)

A TIN is required when you own a practice; belong to a hospital as a medical facility or a medical practice.

In the case of physicians’ reassignment of Medicare Billing Rights to TIN, their NPI gets associated with that TIN, referred to as TIN/NPI combination. For Instance, if any physician has assigned billing rights to multiple TINs, he/she will have multiple TIN/NPI combinations.

CMS assesses TIN/NPI combination for MIPS eligibility and use TINs for practices’ eligibility.

Eligibility Determination Period of MIPS

CMS looks into past and current Medicare Part B Claims and Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) data for clinicians and practices, each year twice.

Data analysis from the first segment is referred to as preliminary eligibility. Data from the second review are then attached to the first segment of data and presented for final eligibility determination. The requirement is to pass the Low-Volume Threshold (LVT) during both reviews.

What is Low-Volume Threshold (LVT)?

LVT includes three aspects of professional healthcare services as follows.

  • Allowed charges
  • Number of services provided
  • Number of Medicare patients who receive services

Other than exempt cases, physicians are required to participate in QPP MIPS 2020, if they:

  • Bill above than $90,000 for Part B covered professional healthcare services
  • Check more than 200 Part B patients
  • Offer above than 200 covered professional healthcare services to Part B patients

It is to consider if physicians report Medicare Part B claims in the second review with a medical practice’s TIN, the eligibility status at that practice will only reflect data from 2nd review.

Who Can Participate in MIPS 2020?

CMS has an eligible clinician type. Clinicians falling into this list and satisfying all the requirements can participate in MIPS.

  • Physicians (including doctors of medicine, osteopathy, dental surgery, dental medicine, podiatric medicine, and optometry)
  • Chiropractors
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Osteopathic practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists
  • Qualified speech-language pathologists
  • Qualified audiologists
  • Registered dietitians or nutrition professionals

MIPS Data Submission Methods

Eligible physicians can report data to CMS as individuals, a group, or a virtual group.

MIPS 2020 Participation as Individuals

For MIPS participation as individuals, physicians must:

  • Belong to eligible clinician type on Medicare Part B claims
  • Have enrollment in Medicare before the performance year 2020
  • Surpass the Low-Volume Threshold requirements
  • Not qualify for Alternative Payment Model Participant

MIPS 2020 Participation as Group

For MIPS participation as a group, physicians must:

  • Belong to eligible clinician type on Medicare Part B claims
  • Have enrollment in Medicare before the performance year 2020
  • Belong to a medical practice that surpasses the Low-Volume Threshold requirements
  • Not qualify for Alternative Payment Model Participant

The MIPS score and payment adjustment will be awarded as a group in this case.

MIPS 2020 Participation as Virtual Group

For MIPS participation as a virtual group, physicians must:

  • Belong to eligible clinician type on Medicare Part B claims
  • Have enrollment in Medicare before the performance year 2020
  • Not qualify for Alternative Payment Model Participant
  • Be associated with a medical practice that surpasses the Low-Volume Threshold requirements & is part of virtual practice

Physicians are required to report their data as a virtual group.

The above-mentioned are all the requirements that a MIPS participant should know. We are halfway in QPP MIPS 2020. Many professionals already had planned and implemented a strategy for optimized performance in the end.

If you’re an eligible MIPS clinician, the best advice to you is to concentrate on quality care outcomes. A professional MIPS Qualified Registry will take your efforts into account, and you can target more measures if you have a proper plan of action on board.

Best of luck.

MIPS 2019, MIPS 2020, MIPS Qualified Registry, MIPS Quality measures, MIPS consulting firms, Medical billing

Reimbursement Trends of 2020: MIPS Vs. Fee for Service

As we enter the year 2020, reimbursement challenges also enter another phase. They are getting more and more complex for independent physicians with each passing year. The reasons for this complexity are the ever-changing reporting requirements from regulatory authorities like the CMS, and the differences in contracts among commercial insurance companies. First, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2020 poses a new set of requirements for clinicians. Second, Insurance companies, in general, require more and more data to draft patient outcomes. So, there is not one, but two pressures inherited by clinicians as they step into the New Year. When we talk about the Quality Payment Program (QPP), some new Advanced Payment Models (APMs) are in the development phase regarding Primary Care. Based on them, the decisions that doctors make today can directly reflect on their future revenue. Let’s see some of those reimbursement trends now.

CMS Focuses on Primary Care

In 2020, CMS sets the same E/M coding requirements for office and outpatient E/M activity, as instructed by the American Medical Association (AMA) CPT Editorial Team. The four levels of E/M codes remain intact for new patients with five levels dedicated to regular patients. Another slight change occurs in the conversion factor for Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) which increases from $36.04 to $36.09. This factor isn’t expected to grow to a greater extent in the next six years. According to Andres Gilberg, Senior Vice President Government Affairs, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the reason for this slight increase is due to the lack of adoption of MIPS and APM by clinicians at the pace Congress wanted when it sanctioned MACRA. Clinicians concerning MIPS in 2020 face serious penalty consequences for not reporting MIPS 2020. They won’t be able to get away with it if they don’t participate resulting in a 9% deduction from their yearly Medicare payments. MIPS 2019 reporting determines the potential bonus percentage to be 1.65. To state a strategy that will work, I’d advise clinicians to report MIPS Quality measures in 2020 to come out as a winner in 2022.

APMs Expected to Increase in Number

CMS intended MIPS to lead into APMs eventually, resulting in less reporting burden and a seamless system of financial incentives. However, the number of APMs needs to increase. There was a notion that CMS would revert to fee-for-service and reset the payment model. But that didn’t happen, and we are stuck with MIPS. Conclusively, we need to have more APMs to accommodate the growing number of clinicians. As a MIPS Qualified Registry, P3Care speaks for and on behalf of clinicians to value their unconditional and invaluable service to the people of the United States.

Private Insurance Companies Push for Quality

To show compliance and participate in value-based care systems, private payers continue to pay more attention to outcomes. It is not expected to change in 2020. What the Quality Payment Program has done is that it has increased the risk-sharing capability of the healthcare industry. Consequently, there is never a dull moment with value-based care. Additionally, provider networks will expand to bring in-home care, pharmacy, and other fields categorically. Thus, changing the whole outlook in a meaningful way. In the past, it used to include inpatient, outpatient, and primary care areas only. Private payers looking up to Medicare reimbursement models, as a result, pay attention to patient access, engagement, cost, and quality measures. If doctors are doing all of that they would be on the A-list of providers. By examining closely what the doctors are doing to their patients, private payers will decide to keep the provider or cancel their contract altogether. For instance, if they are sending their patients to a far-away imaging center only because it is in their health plan, they won’t go unnoticed by payers for long. Insurance companies are allowed to terminate their contracts in such instances without prior notice, as United Health has done in the past. Those who do exceptionally well and create a better patient experience are bound to get special invites from provider organizations tagged with bonuses as a reward.

Smaller Practices to Face Payment Difficulties

Mergers are likely to continue in healthcare as payers find cost-effective ways to navigate value-based care. You see, larger organizations have the power to provide better infrastructure to follow MIPS 2020 requirements. In comparison, smaller practices have a lesser chance to comply with what the program requires. Nevertheless, bigger systems have other issues to deal with. As more and more physicians join mega hospitals and provider networks, getting them to follow QPP guidelines and execute coordinated care are two of the challenges they face. Therefore, you focus on either fee-for-service model or value-based care because if you do both incentives won’t match with one another. The next threat to small practices is the rise of retail clinics. A retail clinic is a doctor’s office at the shopping mall where you can get primary care services instantly. You are looking at revolution so to speak. For now, experts are unsure of the affect retail clinics will have on reimbursement rates, so it’s a waiting game from here on. Comment below and share your thoughts if you’d like to. To show you a list of top MIPS consulting firms, we wrote an article titled – Top 3 MIPS Consulting Services in the U.S.

Evaluating Virtual Reality (VR) In Healthcare

Virtual reality (VR) has taken over the digital world. It was supposed to revolutionize gaming, but it has also entered into a sensitive field like healthcare. Physicians are using various technologies to provide high-quality medical facilities to patients. From assisting remote patients to medical billing to MIPS submission methods, technology is giving a new dimension to this field.

VR has opened new opportunities for clinicians to analyze diseases and severity of illnesses via 3D modeling. Moreover, it is a source to lessen pain caused by chronic diseases or severe burn injuries.

VR is Reliable

With successful research and trials, VR has proved itself a reliable Technology in Healthcare. This trend is not in its testing phase but is operational in some areas. Thus, it hasn’t remained a research-based project but is facilitating in a number of ways, changing human perception for improving the quality of care services.

For Example,

Cedars Sinai is a non-profitable healthcare organization in Los Angeles that is successfully running a clinical VR program for more than 3,000 patients.

Despite the numerous benefits that virtual reality offers to healthcare, some challenges also exist while implementing this technology to the full potential.

How the healthcare system uses this technology?

Healthcare Technology and Healthcare Services

According to physicians, virtual reality can provide a different environment for the patient’s healing process. It has the ability to take patients away from the clinical setting through an interactive experience. Via VR, patients are able to reduce their stress and pain and learn new techniques that may help them afterward for a better lifestyle.

The purpose of VR is not to create a fantasy world for patients but to make them able to learn new skills to cope with real-world problems. Hence, it serves as therapy.

In what capacity virtual reality works in healthcare!

Currently, VR is working in three different sectors as follows:

  1. Stimulates Relaxation and Calmness

Virtual reality helps in achieving the same goals, which are derived from cognitive behavior therapies. Depressed, traumatized patients with intense situations, mentally ill, or people with phobias can seek solace and get back to their regular lives.

  • Relieves Pain

Doctors have tested several virtual reality techniques against abdomen pain, back pain, and more. The results were astonishing. A pain-specific application, Pain RelieVR has shown great effects in this context. The result showed around 24% of the reduction of pain after 10 minutes.

Moreover, patients can be taught to cope with pain via special techniques and generate positive change in their habits.

  • Sharpens Memory

VR is a survival tool for patients with dementia or memory loss. It enables connecting patients with reality and sharpens their memory via therapeutic exercises.

In addition, it also helps in differentiating between reality and hallucinations.

The struggle for controlling a craving is real. VR can also support the process of damping signals that might be harmful to you as in weight management.

Impact of VR on Medical Practices

Healthcare services and virtual reality

To utilize this technology, physicians and hospitals require special training to streamline this technology in the real world. VR not only helps in the above-mentioned healthcare sectors but can support other healthcare applications as well.

VR is an amazing technology that benefits patients but also physicians. With the implementation of VR in the medical practice, quality of healthcare is improved which consequently fills up physicians’ pockets. Moreover, physicians can also earn incentives and rewards for utilizing new technology via MIPS.

It’s set up and the equipment placement remains the issue. However, with efficient planning and investment, it can be solved. Moreover, patients complained about the headsets being uncomfortable, but who knows with the passing time, VR gadgets become smart, and the healthcare system becomes more advanced.

Visit https://www.linkedin.com/company/p3-healthcare-solutions for all the latest updates on healthcare.

Introduction To The Physician Compare Initiative

Launched as a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the Obamacare Act of 2010, the physician compare initiative started out as a simple online searchable database of healthcare professionals eligible under Medicare.  Since its launch in 2011, the Physician Compare website has been regularly updated by the CMS’ Medicare department to enhance the information that helps patients make informed healthcare decisions.

The second purpose of the Physician Compare Initiative is to incentivize clinicians and clinician groups to improve their performance. MIPS 2017 performance information on the portal is in line with both the purposes. Patients can select Medicare physicians with higher ratings while clinicians receive payment adjustments based on their performances.

MIPS quality measures, Consumer Assessment for Healthcare Provider and Systems (CAHPS), Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) measures convert into scores and ratings for individuals and clinician groups. MIPS thrives in the present and before it enters into the year 2020, CMS has a proposal ready for the MIPS 2020 program.

Changes to Physician Compare Website

Presently, the Physician Compare website shows necessary physician and group association information like physician name, practice name, location, phone numbers, specialties, gender, medical certifications, affiliations, and languages spoken. However, so far the website is just that, it gives the necessary information. The website does say whether or not a physician participated in the outdated Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program and the most recent information on the site is related to MIPS 2017. Doctors supporting the Million Hearts initiative by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are also identified.

Portal for Patients and Clinicians

The physician compare initiative stands firm on grounds to improve the quality of care and reduce healthcare expenses. CMS has made it clear on numerous occasions that the Quality Payment Program is here to stay and works for the betterment of US healthcare. After 2017, we are going to have a MIPS 2018 showdown of scores and star ratings, and it is going to add a rich flavor to this program.

The portal displays provider scores in performance categories, i.e., Quality, Cost, Promoting Interoperability, and Improvement Activities. The data will be available in downloadable file format free for use by online directories and health information websites like Yelp, ZocDoc, Healthgrades, and Vitals, etc.

Reputation Impact of Physician Compare

What this means is that all those clinicians that have been reporting a minimal amount of data to avoid an MIPS penalty need to rethink their strategy. MIPS score is not only about receiving an incentive payment anymore. The doctor’s reputation is at stake here, not just dollars. Furthermore, individual physician star ratings will follow them if they change their organization. The MIPS score may directly impact their future career opportunities, clinician recruitment, potential mergers or acquisitions, insurance contracts and more.

Eligibility Criteria for Appearance on the Website

A physician or a provider group needs to have ratified Medicare PECOS information available. Furthermore, the clinicians should have submitted at least one value-based claim within the last 12 months. Groups must have at least two clinicians reallocating their benefits to the group as a whole.

What Sources of Data Will CMS Use?

Healthcare Technology and  CMS

CMS has been using multiple sources to update its website; these sources will be expanded in the future. The information displayed on the site may be derived from self-submitted data via claims, qualified clinical data registry, qualified registries, consumer assessment of healthcare providers and systems (CAHPS) and the provider enrollment, chain, and ownership system (PECOS). CMS also coordinates with national certifying boards to confirm board certifications. CMS determines which quality measures are statistically reliable enough to be displayed on the website.

Star Ratings for Easy Comparison

Beginning this year, performance on quality measures will be depicted by a one-to-five star rating system. Each star represents a 20 percent performance score on MIPS (i.e. 1 Star = 20%, 2 Stars = 40%, 3 Stars = 60%, 4 Stars = 80%, 5 Stars = 100%). These ratings are relative, that is, they depend on the performance of other eligible practitioners and groups under the program.

30-Day Preview for Checking Information & Correction

CMS has announced that it will provide a 30-day preview to the clinicians for review and correction before the measures and ratings are finally made public on the Physician Compare website. The physicians will be made aware through the MLN Connects weekly newsletter and various other platforms. If you discover any errors or omissions in the information, you can contact CMS for correction. You may need to submit proofs supporting your claim for your correction. Also, there is no formal appeals process thus ensuring correction within the 30 days preview period is highly critical. If you discover any errors during the preview period, you can report it to CMS via the contact information provided on the website.

How Can P3 Healthcare Solutions help?

Be patient, for instance, if you have switched a group practice or a hospital, or you upgraded your certifications, you need to update the information through PECOS. Corrections made in PECOS could take up to 4 months to be reflected in the website. Furthermore, healthcare providers will only learn about their MIPS score for the performance year 2018 by late 2019. That means when they learn about bad performance, the year after the bad performance will also almost be over. Thus they can start focusing on improvement only in the next year. It means that not only the incentive payments will continue to get hurt, the reputation impact will also continue until at least the end of 2020.

P3 Healthcare Solutions is a MIPS Registry for the second consecutive year in 2018. Our advanced analytical tools help you track your performance throughout the year and can give an estimated MIPS score to ensure that you are satisfied with your score before you submit your reports to CMS.

It is very vital to get an expert opinion about how to balance the costs associated with getting a high MIPS score and the potential negative impacts of a low MIPS score.  For any more questions related to this, or for instructions on how to get started call one of our MIPS medical billing service experts today at 1-844-557-3227 (1-844-55-P3CARE) or email at info@www.p3care.com.