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MIPS 2020, MIPS consultants, MIPS reporting, MIPS data submission, QPP MIPS, MIPS 2021, MIPS Value Pathways, MIPS consulting services, MIPS Quality measures, QPP MIPS 2020

P3Care Investigates: QPP MIPS 2021 Proposed Rules

CMS (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) released the proposed rule for QPP MIPS 2021 via the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

In this article, we dissect changes that are expected to appear in MIPS 2021. However, keep in mind that the changes are just proposed until now and are not final yet.

Each year, CMS proposes various guidelines to facilitate physicians with their payments.

How MIPS consultants take care of the administrative data to report to the authorities affects revenue cycles. How to report MIPS data is what add to your revenue year after year, especially for clinicians associated with Medicare.

Physicians Services Translate into Patient Care

As physicians, your first responsibility is towards your patients. For a fact, you would not have time to manage the MIPS reporting 2021 requirements, given the situation with COVID. With all of what’s going on, I am sure you want to begin 2021 on a high note. The help of MIPS consulting services, make the process of MIPS data submission easier and less hectic.

Besides accurate data reporting, we also have to understand the QPP MIPS requirements every performance year.

What can we expect in the MIPS 2021, and how it will impact the data submission process.  Let’s follow-through.

But, first, we must analyze the COVID-19 Impact!

2021 QPP MIPS might come with challenges. We can expect time delays (which we also experienced during MIPS 2020 performance period).

The implications of the pandemic are going to go a long way with us. For instance, CMS asks physicians to focus on the quality of care rather than the volume of patients. However, with the pandemic, there was no choice left other than catering to the volume of patients while being careful and value-driven to every extent possible.

Therefore, a delay in the implementation of MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs) for 2021 seems only reasonable.

Additional reporting flexibilities are also in consideration in response to the COVID-19. Talk about MIPS incentives, they are by far the most as compared to the previous years. Realistically speaking, P3Care can get you up to +5% positive payment adjustments for its clients. Fill the form that appears in the pop-up and we’ll get back to you shortly.

MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs)

The proposed rule stated that MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs) will be delayed until 2022.

However, they will be available as options, and eligible clinicians can choose to report through them alongside the other MIPS data submission options.

APM Performance Pathways

Participants of MIPS APMs are allowed to report via APPs, which function the same as MVPs.

CMS is also considering sunset the current APM score standards in 2021.

Keep in mind that only the following audience can use APPS.

  • Individual eligible clinician
  • Group (TIN) or APM Entity
  • MIPS APM participants

The above-mentioned specialists have the option to use APP, but it is compulsory for ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program to report quality performance via the APP.

The performance category for the APP will be scored as follows upon the fixed set of quality measures.

Quality Category: Weighs 50%. It contains six measures that focus on population health.

Improvement Activities (IA) Category: Weighs 20%. CMS will automatically assign its score based on the requirements of the MIPS APM.

All APM participants reporting through the APP will earn a 100% score for 2021.

Promoting Interoperability (PI) Category: Weighs 30%. Compulsory for all QPP MIPS data submissions.  It is reported and scored at the individual or group level.

Cost Category: Weighs at 0%

Moreover, it is also automatically used for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) quality scoring.

QPP MIPS Program Updates

For MIPS 2021, various data submission options will be given to MIPS consulting services to help eligible clinicians get through the program.

Physicians have the option to report QPP MIPS as:

  • Virtual Group
  • Solo eligible Clinicians
  • Group
  • APM Entity

Note that the virtual group has the highest hierarchical priority when CMS receives multiple scores for it.

APM Participation

Participation through APM participation is available for eligible clinicians. They can report QPP MIPS data for both Quality and Improvement Activities (IA) performance categories.

Moreover, you can select and report MIPS Quality measures in the same manner as eligible clinicians choose and report for QPP MIPS.

However, generally, the APM Entity group calculates the performance for the Improvement Activities (IA).

The Cost category has a slight change in the data reporting mechanism. If you do not report this category via APP, the APM Entity Group will automatically score it.

The above-mentioned are the little details that QPP MIPS participants must know beforehand they enter the MIPS 2021.

Until now, you must have a good idea of the minor changes that are expected in QPP MIPS 2021. Now, it’s time to look into details of (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) CMS-published Proposed Rule. Some adjustments are made to simplify administrative data while others in response to the corona pandemic.

Let’s get started!

Proposed Sunset of Web Interface Mechanism

CMS in the Final Rule aims to facilitate groups and virtual groups with MIPS data submission 2021. They proposed a sunset of the CMS Web Interface as a new reporting method.  It is particularly useful for larger group participants of QPP MIPS 2021, APM (Alternative Payment Model), and the MSSP (Medicare Shared Savings Program).

It is because of the CMS data indicating a 45% reduction in the usage of the mechanism. Moreover, there is a 40% reduction in utilization of CMS Web Interface.

If this rule comes into effect, MIPS eligible groups and virtual groups can then report relevant data via a MIPS Qualified Registry or EHR (Electronic Health Records).

Crucial Changes in APM Reporting

Many APM participants may use APP (APM Performance Pathway) for quality reporting.

CMS also suggests setting six quality measures for APM reporting naming:

  • Controlling High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1c Poor Control
  • Preventive Care and Screening: Screening for Depression and Follow-up Plan
  • Risk Standardized, All-Cause Unplanned Admissions for Multiple Chronic Conditions for ACOs
  • Hospital-Wide, 30-day, All-Cause Unplanned Readmission Rate for MIPS Eligible Clinician Groups

This step aims to simplify the administrative load to help focus physicians on quality patient outcomes.

ACO (Accountable Care Organization) Reporting

Under QPP MIPS 2021, the proposed rule suggests Shared Savings ACOs reporting with the following changes.

There is an availability of several data submission methods for ACOs stating who will submit what data to CMS. For Instance, instead of the ACO entity submitting data by itself, allowing participants to submit data at the individual level.

The operational and strategic changes will allow ease in the reporting process. Of course, data collection and aggregation is a problem that often hinders the pace of MIPS reporting. However, with this step, we can observe potential improvement in data submission and the MIPS score.

How to Adjust with the Changes in MIPS Data Submission Process?

Here to remember that the proposed rule might be different from the final rule. But, even if the reporting requirements changes, they must be somewhat similar. The best option is to get in touch with professional MIPS consulting services to comply with the required changes.

Conclusion

QPP MIPS 2021 is different from the previous years in terms of quality reporting. The pandemic is still not over yet, and the focus on patient empowerment through value-based outcomes has increased noticeably.

We also understand that adjusting to new reporting requirements takes time. However, the comprehension process of MIPS reporting 2021 criteria becomes easy when you have professional MIPS consultants with you.

To begin with, medical practices should design their strategic goals to align their efforts. It is just the start of the performance year, so you can experiment with different measures. It is an opportunity to compensate for the lost revenue during the pandemic emergency by delivering QPP MIPS 2021 performance. We should not miss it.

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 if physicians are eligible for MIPS data submission or not.

However, the reporting requirements change each year due to changed policies. So, if we want to succeed in this program, we have to comply with the changes.

MIPS 2020 Reporting Deadline is Due March 31, 2021

We have almost 2 months to submit data to CMS. Most of you must have checked their MIPS eligibility status up until now. However, to ensure quality, go through this article to review the complete process.

Also, remember that MIPS participation is not easy, and the eligibility check is just the start. A MIPS Qualified Registry can take care of the administrative load without you being bothered. So, consult them for a seamless process.

 MIPS 2020 Eligibility Check

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 uses 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 the 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.

Eligibility Check for 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

Eligibility Check for 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.

Eligibility Check for 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

The above-mentioned are all the requirements that a MIPS participant should know beforehand of the MIPS data submission. We are halfway through QPP MIPS 2020, and many professionals already had planned and implemented a strategy for optimized performance in the end.

How to Report MIPS Data?

Physicians have a lot on their plate already, and the pandemic has increased their burden. In such a situation, MIPS quality reporting seems like a challenging task.

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.

CM

P3Care and Trump Administration Encourage Practices to Reopen

America should adopt smarter ways to counter COVID-19 as it reopens for patients and clinicians. In the meanwhile, CMS has come up with a guide for patients and beneficiaries as they decide to visit providers for in-person care.

As a result of the surge in COVID-19 patients, many providers were left with no option except to restrict care at their facility. They had to do that for the essential treatment of COVID-19 patients.

However, with a much-improved situation now, the government encourages private practices and clinics to resume their normal operations. They are to continue with their postponed non-emergency treatments and carry out in-person patient visits as we speak.

The patient guide ensures the safe reopening of healthcare facilities with patients receiving the much needed in-person care. National public health emergency took over, causing this delay in normal appointments, procedures, and treatments.

We can’t thank President Trump enough for his vision, the expansion of telehealth, to be specific, in a very short time. In this way, all this time when America was closed, patients were able to talk to their clinicians from the safety of their homes.

Ms. Seema Verma, Administrator of CMS, reinforces the vitality of in-person care and refers to it as a gold level of care. Such steps by the government are in favor of patients who have long been waiting at homes for procedures, vaccinations, operations, and evaluation of chronic conditions.

She further explained healthcare is the right of every American and our healthcare heroes are working day in and day out to deliver it safely. We should all feel confident when going for in-person care recommended by our providers.

On April 19, CMS issued the first part of recommendations to safely start in-person care activity in areas with a low occurrence or relatively low and constant number of COVID-19 cases. Hence, we move ahead with another set of recommendations.

CMS leaves no stone unturned when it comes to patient and clinician safety as healthcare systems, practices and clinics further enhance in-person care standards. Recommendations include a list of topics to ensure safety regulations are in place for patients and providers including facility measures; testing and sanitation levels; personal protective equipment and stock of supplies; and workforce presence.

The easy access to healthcare for everyone can be restricted to some extent. However, this decision can’t be prolonged due to financial discrepancies.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, healthcare professionals have lost a major amount of revenue as the resources were redirected towards the pandemic response. Now as the Trump administration is asking to bring normalcy in the economy under strict SOPs, we can expect a gradual balance between expenses and revenue.

As it was with part 1 of recommendations, decisions to reopen should be in line with federal, state, and local rules, CDC’s guidance, and association with the state and local public health authorities.

As the country continues to move on the path of reopening, patients have concerns about when to check-in with their providers for in-person visits.

CMS also acts as a guide with empathy for patients to make the right decisions as they prepare to meet their providers in person. Ultimately, it is in their best interest to follow the new rules.

Find guidelines for patients for in-person visits in English here: https://cms.gov/files/document/covid-what-patients-should-know-about-seeking-health-care.pdf and in Spanish here: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-what-patients-should-know-about-seeking-health-care-spanish.pdf

To read one of the previous updates, go here – P3 investigates: Trump Administration plans to reopen nursing homes

To read about the work of the White House Coronavirus Task Force reaction to COVID-19, go to www.coronavirus.gov. For specific information about CMS, keep reading our blog updates.

Medical billing services, Medical billing service companies, Medical billing services near me, Revenue cycle management

P3 Defines the Role of Medical Billers and Coders

Any person who thinks there is a difference between medical billers and medical coders is right.

Because there is a difference. With defined roles, they bring the right charisma to a physician’s revenue cycle. Nevertheless, one depends on the other for the completion of the billing process.

Medical billing services hire both professionals to carry out an effective revenue cycle management process on behalf of healthcare providers. Theoretically speaking, both professions require the professionals to read, interpret, and comprehend Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and doctors’ notes. Hence, their education in science is a must.

We all know that medical billing is a complex process. But with medical coders and billers assigned to claims, medical billing becomes all the more manageable. Their capabilities provide all the help a healthcare provider needs to process medical billing claims.

For you, as a primary care physician or a specialty-specific clinician, an authentic team of health IT experts may, rightfully, carve the way to a successful practice.

Coding: Where Medical Billing Services Begin

Medical coding is a definitive structure of the medical bill. It becomes an integral part of medical billing service which reflects each and everything in a proper, organized, and coded form. At times such as this pandemic, the healthcare sky is lit with updates; new codes for COVID-19 have surfaced, so coders have a responsibility to stay in touch with CMS updates.

Moreover, they must remain proficient and knowledgeable in the ICD-10 coding system – the coding system that classifies diseases. The other one being the CPT set of codes identifies the treatment aspect of received cure.

The above systems help convert medical jargon into easier alphanumeric codes. For people inside and outside the medical industry, it may be hard to understand the names of diseases and certain procedures. Thus, the availability of these coding systems provides a comprehensive path to diseases and their solutions.

Since there are thousands of diseases, symptoms, and cures, it is not possible to write to them in complete form all the time. The only way possible is to design a coding system that classifies them.

Medical coders are required to manifest the knowledge of thousands of CPT and ICD-10 codes accordingly. Moreover, coders translate medical records for reimbursements later.

This gives us an overview of what coders are responsible for.

Medical Billing is the Social Part of Coding

After proofreading the claims, next comes the job of billing professionals to forward them to insurance companies.

A claim that is prepared by the coder has to go through a process; the person who carries it out through to the end is a medical biller. If it is a small practice, usually, there will be a small group of medical billers. However, to tend to a larger practice or hospital, there’s a whole team of billers and coders. Their times often concur with the time of the practice, but they can also work remotely to address claims as they come.

Without experienced billing personnel on your side, a health care facility, or a primary care physician’s revenue cycle would fail to function. Here, at P3, we have a whole team dedicated to medical billing outsourcing, so feel free to reach out at this number: 1-844-557-3227.

Purpose

Billers to devise the billing claim use information emanating in the form of codes by medical coders. That claim becomes the first-hand information for insurance companies to release payments. A well-written billing claim without errors has a higher first-time acceptance rate. Furthermore, collections occur fast, almost within 2 weeks.

If patients have outstanding bills, the medical billing experts are required to contact them as part of the following-up process. They will walk them through the process and inform them about any deductibles, copayments, or other insurance liabilities.

Besides, medical billing and coding teams coordinate with insurance companies to get providers on board if they are not enlisted with them. Sometimes the patients visit providers who are out of network, and not on their health plan. Then, the medical billing services have an additional role to play, to enlist such providers with insurance companies. To speed up things, doctors must provide any documentation that is urgently required to complete the registration process.

Filing appeals and conversing with patients is part of their job. There is little time between denial and resubmission; therefore, we must act fast, recompile, proofread, and resubmit.

Where Do They Work?

‘Medical billing services near me’ is one of the search terms often searched on Google. Why?

Because, one, physicians are in search of someone nearby; second, if they can find them nearby, they are physically reachable. However, the remote nature of work has popularized the job amongst outsourcing companies. Therein, we hear the term, medical billing outsourcing.

Most billers and coders are present on LinkedIn with incredible job portfolios. Often you’ll find abbreviations such as CPC – Certified Professional Coder – besides their names. Also, you’ll find abbreviations such as CCA – Certified Coding Associate – and CCS – Certified Coding Specialist – with their names.

Prerequisites

The prerequisites for this job are at least a high school diploma with a science background. However, an associate degree in medical billing helps convincingly in the long run.

You have four studying options:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in a health-related subject (4 years)
  2. Associate degree in medical billing & coding (2 years)
  3. Diploma (1 year)
  4. Certification (a couple of months)

All of these studying programs lead towards a bright future that is well-respected and well-paid.

Pro Tip – Choose schools that are recognized by AHIMA or AAPC.

For readers who like this article, please do comment. We love to read your feedback, and, also don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @p3healthcaresolutions.

News

Medicare Payment Increased for 3 Healthcare Providers Says CMS

CMS (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) decides to upgrade the Medicare payment adjustments for three types of physicians namely:

  • Hospices
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Inpatient psychiatric facilities

This step is great in order to reward the healthcare professionals in the respective facilities for their up-scaled services, especially during the pandemic.

How it will impact the Hospices?

Right from the year 2021, hospice payment rates will be raised by the market basket percentage of 2.4%. In numbers, this percentage is around $540 million.

Where CMS has shown support in the payment rate, they also demand quality reporting services. Hospices failed to meet the performance threshold will have to face a 2% decline in the annual payment market basket.

The system also has a statutory aggregate cap that puts a limit to payments made to the hospices.

The final cap amount for FY 2021 is $30,683.93 updated by 2.4% as per 2020.

How it will impact the Skilled Nursing Facilities?

The aggregate payments to skilled nursing facilities are going to increase by 2.2%, in 2021, which is $750 million.

These facilities are upgraded by the routine technical rate-setting updates in payments. The final rule also applies a 5% cap on the wage index, which is lower than in 2020. Hearing the concerns of the stakeholders, CMS also tweaked the ICD 10 code maps, which will be in effect from 2021.

The updated mapping address the care based patient characteristics under  Medicare Patient-Driven Payment Model.

However, the payments for skilled nursing facilities depend on the performance of a single claims-based, all-cause, all-condition hospital readmission measure.

How it will impact the Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities?

Inpatient psychiatric facilities will observe an increase in their payment rate by 2.2%, estimated to be $95 million in 2021.

Office of Management and Budget statistical area delineations will be revised to better estimate the cost born by the healthcare professional.

With this update, the following physicians will be able to practice within the scope determined by the state law.

Advanced practice providers including:

  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Psychologists
  • Clinical nurse specialists

They also have to record the progress of their patient along with the medical record.

Further efforts would be required to dissolve the inconsistencies that don’t align with the latest final rules changes and to loosen the regulatory conditions.

We hope CMS brings more innovations to reduce administrative burden and improve payment rates for all physicians.

For more updates, visit our page – https://www.p3care.com/blog

Provider medical billing service, medical billing, Telehealth Services, CMS updates, Public Health Emergency

COVID-19: Public Health Emergency Telehealth Services to SNF Residents

CMS keeps on providing useful information as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on. In fact, the rebuilding efforts shall continue until a significant vaccine emerges to the scene and puts an end to this virus. When America, on one side, faces the challenge of COVID-19 testing kits shortages, on the other, it is the people who must work on their emotional resilience to continue to survive the 2020 pandemic.

Emotional resilience, the art of managing one’s emotions through the crisis has become even more crucial.

Coming back to today’s topic, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) does not relax the overall requirements for Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Consolidated Billing (CB); however, CMS releases a set of CPT telehealth codes for coverable time segments as long as the crisis lasts.

New Telehealth Reimbursement-ready Codes

Telemedicine codes like:

  • 99441,
  • 99442, and
  • 99443

assign three different time evaluations of telephonic Evaluation and Management (E&M) services by the provider. Physicians must bill for these services under Part B when providing care to an SNF’s Part A resident.

After such an announcement by CMS, Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) will reevaluate claims – for codes 9941, 99442 and 99443 – with service dates on or after March 1, 2020, that were denied because of SNF CB changes. You just have to sit tight and wait for the collections column to fill up. In case there is a provider medical billing service working on your behalf, they will update you once payments come through.

For those of you who have received payments from an SNF for telehealth services, it is obligatory to return them to the facility once the MAC repurposes your claim.

With COVID-19 still around, these changes had to be released eventually. On the whole, CMS finalized three payment rules for Medicare on July 31, 2020; they concur with payments for Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities (IPF), Skilled Nursing Facilities, and hospices.

We only wrote details for one of them – for SNFs.

CMS depicts an increase in total payments to SNFs by $750 million for FY 2021 or a 2.2 percent increase compared to FY 2020.

To know more about telemedicine’s remedial effects during the pandemic, we crafted a piece on our blog section: Telemedicine Emerges as Cure Outlet Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak. It gives you an outline of where we are headed to with remote visits.