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MIPS 2019, MIPS 2019 reporting, MIPS & MACRA, MIPS in healthcare, Quality payment program 2019

5 Key Takeaways from the Quality Payment Program by Year’s End

Before we go into the details, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) comes under the direct obligation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), the law that regulates the incentive program across the US.

Eligible clinicians who have a responsibility to report MIPS 2019 include physicians, osteopathic practitioners, chiropractors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered dietitians or nutritionists among others. They have to fulfill the low-volume threshold to qualify for MIPS 2019 reporting apart from their assigned job in healthcare.

MIPS in healthcare gauges a clinician’s performance in terms of care delivery and reduced expenses. In this article, we come to an understanding of five key elements that have surfaced as a result of this program. This data correlates with the preliminary data findings released by CMS on July 11, 2019.

  1. Two Branches for Positive Payment Adjustments

The Quality Payment Program (QPP) 2019 branches out into MIPS and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). Which branch to choose is at the disposal of clinicians, clinician groups, and virtual groups. However, MIPS & MACRA go side by side making it the next famous incentive branch after the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

The system divides into four performance categories such as Quality, Promoting Interoperability (PI), Improvement Activities (IA), and Cost. Each category has certain measures that have to be reported through a MIPS Qualified Registry, CMS Web Interface, EHR, or Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR). Not to forget, there is another catch to it in the form collection types which are the actual measures according to their submission systems.

  1. Participation Level Increases Each Year

Since the start of the program in 2017, the participation level has gradually increased. The program showed an increase from 95% in 2017 to 98% in 2018. And, MIPS 2019 is only going to give us more eligible clinicians participating in it. The whole program suggests progression with higher participation levels across the country.

  1. Small Practices Clinician Participation Status

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), 90 percent of clinicians from small practices engaged in MIPS 2018 which was 81 percent in 2017.

The primary flexibilities introduced in the Physician Fee Schedule rule for the 2018 performance year included an increase in Medicare patient count and Medicare Part B allowed charges which meant fewer clinicians from small practices would be eligible to report MIPS in 2018. However, they decided to report it anyway. It also goes to show that the system has adjusted itself with the practitioners’ convenience.

It was mentioned in a blog post by Seema Verma, Administrator CMS on July 11, 2019.

  1. Advanced APMs Are Not Far Behind

Alternative Payment Model (APM) participation level isn’t far behind that of MIPS. CMS reports twice an increase of participants in 2018 as compared to 2017. There were 99,076 total participants in 2017, while the number doubled to 183,306 in 2018. This sudden jump was attributed to new participation opportunities in 2018, especially through ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

Even if we are out there to condemn this program, I can’t see any downside to these opportunities and hope they continue for clinicians.

  1. Spectacular Results So Far

The program collects incentives for the participating clinicians year after year, but the payout occurs one year after the performance year. For example, the payout for MIPS 2017 happened in 2019 in which 93 percent of the participants received positive payment adjustments.

Similarly, MIPS 2018 participants will receive a payout in 2020 which is almost here. CMS reports that 97 percent of the clinicians will be the owner of positive payment adjustments in 2020 based on their performances in 2018.

P3 Healthcare Solutions, Ontario, CA keeps an eye on what goes around as the MIPS performance period 2019 enters the final stages.

CMS, QPP, MIPS, MIPS quality measures, quality payment program, healthcare organization, MIPS reporting, MIPS 2019

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 burdens 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.

The past president of The American Medical Association (AMA) David O. Barde, has provided 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 centers.
  • 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’ patience 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 the actual usage of technology and to translate digital health information on the 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.

Here’s the good news, right from this year MIPS 2019, certain changes are observed for the PI category, which is expected to improve the overall performance of this category.

If physicians strive to score high in this category, they must take measures to perform well in the following sectors.

  • E-Prescribing: Computerized generation, transmission, and filling out of medical prescription
  • Secure health information exchange
  • Giving easy access to patients to their healthcare information
  • Public health and clinical data exchange: Exchanging data between different stakeholders/healthcare organizations.

Eligible clinicians don’t need to invest a fortune to excel in specific categories. But, a little improvement can add huge points to the MIPS total.

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 in motion, around 58% of the physicians are already excluded to even participate in it. But there is a new policy in town, making waves in the clinician fraternity, adopting which, those who are still outside the bounds of MACRA and MIPS will be able to participate.

According to CMS, the year holds comparatively doable reporting requirements as well in an effort to reduce physician burnout. By the introduction of the “Opt-In” policy, clinicians can now participate in the program and win rewards as if they were eligible for it.

Generally, the program shows some flexibility toward small medical practices with fewer resources by making their reporting requirements slightly easier than those of large practices. Hence, there is a good chance they get the most out of MIPS 2019. Moreover, it stirs the air in the US healthcare industry and encourages physicians to be promoters of value-based care.

As MIPS 2019 reporting has become a mandatory subject for physicians for the sake of quality care and low costs, patient portals are also an essential topic worth discussing, nowadays. We wrote an article to cover this topic for our audiences. If you want to read it, click over here: Why the future of healthcare depends on patient portals?

How P3care Handles Medicare MIPS Reporting For Cardiologists

P3Care.com sort things out with the payers and at the same time keep the communication lines open on behalf of the providers. This way the patients receive the best care and the insurance reimbursement workflow keeps on moving.

Everyone is happy.

In addition, P3Care has a strong grip over the Quality Payment Program under MACRA. The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track reporting mechanism for both the specialty-specific clinicians and the primary-care physicians brings in both incentives and reputational benefits.

What is P3?

The three “Ps” stands for –

  • Providers
  • Patients
  • Payers

P3Care Simplifies MIPS Reporting for Specialists

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is an integral part of the value-based system. In addition, CMS recognizes P3Care as a MIPS Qualified Registry vendor in back to back years of 2017 and 2018. That makes it a favorable enterprise for physicians who want to choose a registry as their MIPS submission method.

The recognition puts a bigger responsibility on our shoulders in terms of performance and meeting your expectations.

The US healthcare system revolves around a working relationship between providers, patients, payers, and medical billing services. If there are disparities at any level, at any step, there is a high probability of bottlenecks.

The government has set the course for MIPS in healthcare to go the distance and want all the clinicians to accept it. If they fail to comply with MIPS, they must be ready to face financial penalties along with putting their integrity on the line.

Heart specialists or cardiologists choose quality measures, outcome measures (or high-priority measures) from specialty-specific sets and start their journey for incentives through MIPS reporting. We take a few minutes of your time and finalize measures before submitting it to CMS.

Peace of Mind for Cardiologists

What do the cardiologists say?

First, they are ready to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). They are actually more excited about it than the general physicians. However, more than half of the cardiologists working in the healthcare industry have reported fatigue and higher stress levels due to excessive documentation.

If IT regulations ease up, it may give them ample time to treat patients and rest as well. P3 Healthcare Solutions is here to help you report MIPS in a timely manner. Connect with us 909-245-8350 to discuss.

CMS Incentivizes Practitioners

The doctors’ job is to treat the patients, but instead, they work 10 to 20 hours a week on paperwork. That is the fact, unfortunately.

The ground reality is that CMS has allocated $20 million on the smooth transition to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System. All these initiatives are going to improve healthcare down to the grassroots level. It must do so and silence those voices screaming the phrase, ‘Americans not getting the treatments they deserve’.

To make it more difficult for cardiologists, the data coming out of the EHR system is vague and doesn’t help with the diagnosis. Often it is descriptive rather than suggesting crucial care points. P3Care brings a solution to this problem by synchronizing the medical billing service with the practice management system.

Specialty-Specific Demotivating Factor

There are no standards set for specialty-specific clinicians when it comes to MIPS quality measures. Hence, there is no way to compare the scores of specialists. The result is a low MIPS Final Score, and there may be no bonus payments at all. It is derogatory and depressing.

Quality measures outlined by the Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) reporting mechanism also have a similar story. Generally, many specialists vote in favor of QCDR.

Data Submission for Physicians and Specialists

After the month of March, CMS takes around 6 months to generate detailed results on MIPS reports.

Medicare MIPS reporting on Quality measures through a registry is highly suitable because it helps to identify and list down probable errors in the report. There is no other way to identify any ambiguities because CMS directly publishes the results. We can’t afford to make mistakes. However, at the end of those evaluations, CMS gives time to practitioners to ask for a review if they are not satisfied with the MIPS final score.

MIPS Cost Measures

Cost is an additional category in MIPS 2018. It accounts for 10% of the composite performance score (CPS). As a cardiologist, you don’t need to worry about it, though. CMS directly manage this category according to your billing to Medicare.

P3Care has a plan in place for the cost category so that CMS gives you the highest ratings on it. If you’re a specialist, please follow us on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/p3-healthcare-solutions/.  We are technologically tenable and keep a close eye on news, views, happenings, and information regarding the US healthcare industry.

When you add the inpatient and outpatient costs, the average of which is compared to the national standard set in the specialist category.  That is an overview of how the cost category is calculated. The lower the cost, the better the ratings!

How To Avert Medical Billing Claim Denials?

Medical billing denial is the rejection of a claim by an insurance company made by an individual or by the provider, to pay for the rendered health care services. If you are a financial administrator in a hospital or any other healthcare facility, you would have an idea about the complications involved in medical billing claims. The denial of claims proves to be a continuous headache as it affects the credibility, cash flow, and the overall efficiency of a healthcare provider.

Studies suggest that the annual claim denials for hospitals stand at 2 percent, whereas, for medical practices, the percentage increases up to 10 percent. It makes medical practices less profitable by comparison.

Some of the healthcare organizations even undergo denial rates of 15 to 20 percent, which is considered extremely high. It means that providers facing this kind of denial rate have one out of five medical billing claims denied.

In addition, the providers have to spend a net amount of $25 for every denied medical billing claim.

However, you can avoid most of your medical billing denials by taking simple precautionary measures. They might not vanish completely, but the steps below assist in minimizing them. The underlying fact is that reducing them even by 1% has a massive impact on lowering provider’s accounts receivable.

Let’s go through the measures we need to take to reduce medical billing claim denials.

  1. Categorizing and Quantifying Medical Billing Denials

Providers can reduce receivable claims by properly analyzing, calculating and reporting patterns of different healthcare providers, departments and payers. These analytical measures are essential to run an efficient medical billing management system.

  1. Create a Professional Taskforce

Put together a task force to analyze and rectify medical billing trends. It is also important to find out which trends are worth looking into and which are not. Well educated and trained team of professionals can quickly streamline the medical billing process for the provider.

  1. Organized Data Portals

Organized patient data portals handle information in a more structured manner. Make sure to design a smooth registration process. Otherwise, it may lead to errors resulting in medical billing denials.

  1. Find Out Reasons behind Denials

You need to find the root cause of denial. For this purpose, you have to go beyond any coding clarifications and design different analytical techniques.

  1. Use Updated Claim Management Software

It is important to ensure that all the edits made are functional, recent and contribute to a continuous improvement cycle. This improves the overall claim recovery rate. Pick up a vendor that can provide you with better claim recovery rates.

  1. Automated Predictive Analytics

It is crucial to flag potential medical billing denials and rectifies any errors before claiming the medical bill. The automated predictive analytics help quickly identifies incomplete medical billing claims.

  1. Work Alongside Payers

Providers need to work with payers to eliminate the specific contract requirement which may lead to medical billing denial. Data analytics can help determine the trouble spots and falsely navigated support systems.

The best way to reduce your accounts receivable is to identify the reasons leading to medical billing claim denials. Medical billing and coding play a vital role in the acceptance or rejection of claims. Staying alert and always on the lookout for billing mistakes, removing them, and taking measures so that they don’t happen in the future increases a provider’s credibility.

P3 comes up with medical billing services for clinicians across various specialties. It is not always the technical skills that matter but the will to complete a certain task. We have the passion to deliver results on behalf of doctors when it comes to billing or the Quality Payment Program.

MIPS Quality Measures 2017 Applicable To LTPAC Medicine

The following article looks at CMS MIPS quality measures for LPTAC medicine. However, before we go towards the MIPS quality details, we need to look at the underlying purpose and objectives.

Purpose

CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is always working on improving the policy to provide better healthcare facilities. Therefore, the new measures are aimed to help improve the overall care delivery and also reward clinicians who are better engaging patients, families, and caregivers.

Here is how CMS looks at MIPS.

“To these ends, and to ensure the Quality Payment Program works for all stakeholders, we further recognize that we must provide ongoing education, support, and technical assistance so that clinicians can understand requirements, use available tools to enhance their practices, and improve quality and progress toward participation in APMs if that is the best choice for their practice.” healthcare facilities

Key Strategic ObjectivesMedicare and Medicaid Services

Let us have a look at the strategic objectives set by CMS.

  • The engagement of patients and the improvement of beneficiary outcomes.
  • To further the clinical experiences that offer flexible yet transparent programs.
  • Ensure meeting of diverse needs of the physician practices typically those with small practices.
  • Further the capabilities of the IT systems that meet various data needs of the end-user including reporting and submission.
  • Work on improving information and data sharing to ensure its timely availability.
  • Enable customized communication while keeping MIPS quality measures specifications into perspective.

Caveats for Individuals and Groups

The new MIPS quality measures take into consideration two LTPAC setting codes. These codes are the basis for the MIPS quality measures specifications. These MIPS quality measures are for application on individuals as well as groups.

Eligibility Criteria

Here are some considerations to undertake.

To qualify for the MIPS incentive payments you need to report on the following.

  • There are 6 measures with at least one of them as an outcome measure relating to poor diabetes control. The new quality measures mark high specialty and ambulatory practices.
  • Each measure’s applicability should be up to 90 days.
  • Around 50 percent of your patients have to qualify for one of those 6 measures.
  • The minimum number acceptable for the incentive payments stands at 20 patients.
  • The health practitioner can only report some measures after a specific diagnosis. Therefore, health clinicians have to be careful when selecting these measures.

Avenues for Submission

You can submit your measures to multiple avenues including EHR, claims, QCDR, and Registry. Registry seems to be the most suitable option for groups that aim to report when using the individual measures.

Why Consider Registry for Submission?

Here are the reasons why you must consider submission via Registry.

  • Since you can submit all 2017 QMs via Registry, you do not rely on any other methods.
  • Claims Reporting for 2017 QMs only supports a subset. Therefore, be careful to see the claims if the Claims Reporting offers support for it or you need to use Registry instead.
  • The group gets a measure of review or control when using Registry before you submit the data. Therefore, it gives a buffer, allowing you to remove any errors that you may find.

Avoiding Penalties is Critical

Make sure to always keep the benchmarks in perspective. By following them you can reduce your chances of getting a penalty. It will also help you satisfy base reporting requirements for MIPS.

Make sure that the data you submit for one patient satisfies that particular measure. If you are able to satisfy all six measures, the data would become a prime example for others to follow. In that case, you may be able to find your data published on CMS’s site for Physician Compare.

How 2017 MIPS Quality Measures Differ?

Previously, there was not much detail available. However, 2017 MIPS by CMS offers detailed benchmarking, relying upon the methodology which involves different performance points.

These individual performance points add to make a total score. Therefore, in 2017, you need to focus on performance as it is a critical year for it. Physicians should know the way they are graded to their performance, comparing it with the past year. It is vital to carefully select QMs which would help you score above-average performance.

Here is how CMS elaborates on this concept.

“By developing a program that is flexible instead of one-size-fits-all, we’re trying to meet clinicians where they are so that they can make the choice about how to participate in a way that is best for them, their practice, and their patients. Reducing burden, ensuring flexible program design, and improving how we measure cost and quality performance supports clinicians in doing what they do best – making their patients healthy.”