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QPP MIPS, MIPS 2020 performance, MIPS Qualified Registry, healthcare services, submit MIPS data, healthcare system, MIPS reporting

Flexible Medicare MIPS Reporting Options Available Amidst Corona

In the last quarter of 2020, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) announced the performance scores for clinicians of QPP MIPS 2019 on its official site.

Clinicians who participated may review their MIPS 2019 scores via a secure portal allotted to them. That along with your participation in MIPS 2020 reporting is going to add up to your revenue. God willing, you deserve every bit of it!

Ordinarily, the performance scores depict the percentage by which clinicians receive positive, negative, or neutral payment adjustments. However, for 2019, payment adjustments will be furnished in the year 2021. Once you have them, you are all set for incentives in 2022.

Review Window for MIPS 2019 Is Closed Now

October 5, 2020, was the last date to check and challenge the MIPS 2019 performance score. During this period, individuals, groups, virtual groups, and even APM (Alternative Payment Model) participants can apply to review their score, if they disagree with it.

There was no special requirement to review data. With the same credentials, you submitted data, you could check the performance score.

It is to be noted that it is the best approach to check feedback. Due to the pandemic, CMS enforced a policy to not penalize any physician, who could not submit data in the previous year.

(If you submitted data through MIPS Qualified Registry, they can review feedback on your behalf.)

Check Points for Performance Review

QPP MIPS is one of the incentive payment models with a goal. It accounts for quality healthcare services, that CMS recognizes and rewards for.

The performance review period allows seeing if your data is being reviewed properly or not.

Mostly, physicians who submit MIPS data through a MIPS Qualified Registry have an idea of their final score. Because registries like ours possess the right resources who follow a set roadmap to report quality measures, and in doing so, they can predict the scores.

Hence, QPP MIPS data submission through a qualified registry takes your stress away. You already become aware of your final score, and even strategize to maximize performance.

You can see the following situations while reviewing the MIPS performance score:

  • Errors or quality data loss in the MIPS submitted performance quality measures.
  • Eligibility and special status issues (Example: low-volume threshold performance).
  • Not being listed in the APM participation, thus, not being reviewed.
  • No performance categories reweighted although you qualify for automatic reweighting under the CMS extreme and uncontrollable circumstances clause.

Relaxations for QPP MIPS 2020 Data Submission

COVID-19 has overburdened the healthcare system beyond its handling capacity. Doctors do not have time to compile necessary data as per the CMS requirements.

In such tough times, CMS offers flexibility to ease out the administrative load. The option for applying for “the Extreme and Uncontrollable Conditions” was available until December 31, 2020. However, the deadline for MIPS 2020 submission still has some time left. If you are among the practices, that are eligible yet non-compliant, P3 may submit on your behalf. It protects you from a 9% penalty while brightening your chances towards 5% MIPS incentives.

Flexible Reporting Options

AMA (American Medical Association) requested CMS to offer flexible QPP MIPS reporting options and other incentive payment models.

Eligible physicians can choose not to be scored against “Cost” and “Quality” measures. In such a case, CMS only analyzes their performance based on “Improvement Activities (IA)” and “Promoting Interoperability (PI)” MIPS performance categories.

What More to Expect?

CMS is working alongside AMA to address issues related to QPP MIPS data submission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We, stakeholders of the healthcare industry, can expect improvement in the Medicare payments and flexible regulatory guidelines. Let’s see how it goes for MIPS 2020 and the upcoming years.

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MIPS Quality Measures 2020 and Specifications for MDs and DOs

Am I eligible for MIPS incentives in 2022?

The question that we hear a lot. And, I have to say it is your right to know.

Whether you are a general physician or a surgeon, submission of MIPS Quality measures leads the way to incentives.

Why?

The government started MIPS back in 2017 to incentivize eligible clinicians, and in return, improve the quality of healthcare. In short, it ensures ECs submit measures for the good of their patients – they will have permanent access to quality care.

The purpose here is to write down a MIPS Quality measures list that includes at least some measures and leave the rest to update in the future. Therefore, you’ll see some of them if not all; we’ll keep updating it, hopefully.

I also hope to provide info not only for family and general physicians but for specialists too. In an ideal system, the MDs, and DOs work in rhythmic harmony for better care coordination and patient experience.

Difference between an MD and a DO

For those of us who don’t know what an MD is, it is short for Medical Doctor, while DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

Although they may use all the available methods to treat their patients, including drugs and surgery, DOs believe in a more holistic approach. By definition, DOs emphasize preventive medicine, musculoskeletal health, and holistic care. It doesn’t mean MDs are any less skilled or vice versa. Both are equally capable.

The Expertise of Both Specialists

Both specialists, MDs and DOs, can choose to practice in any specialty. Both lend their expertise to promote the quality of healthcare to patients translating CMS MIPS quality measures.

AMA (American Medical Association) studied that in 2018, up to 57% of more DOs preferred to practice in primary care compared to 32% of the MDs.

The total statistics for DOs participation in primary care were:

  • 9% went for family physicians
  • 8% went for internists
  • 8% went for pediatricians

However, both programs offer a license, thus, it does not matter what program a student pursues.

Define the Quality Performance Category

One of the categories of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is the Quality performance category! It holds a 45% weight in the total score.

What does it account for?

It measures your performance in clinical activities and patient outcomes. MIPS data submission through Quality measures helps assess health care processes, manage results, and patient experiences. As a result, we can expect the highest quality of care while keeping expenses to a minimum. Hence, the achievement of the value-based care purpose.

Understanding CMS MIPS Quality Measures

  1. Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Poor Control (>9%) 

Diabetes, a menace, to say the least, shadows quite a part of the US population. How can we put a lid on it? Well, the answer lies in value-based care. More importantly, it is MIPS quality reporting that will eventually decrease the number of diabetics across the country.

This particular measure says to submit data on your patients from the age of 18-75 with diabetes who had hemoglobin A1c > 9.0% during the measurement period.

A CMS eCQM is available for this outcome measure. The collection types for this measure include:

  • Medicare Part B Claims
  • eCQM (electronic-clinical quality measure)
  • CMS Web Interface
  • MIPS CQM (clinical quality measure)

Since one of the collection types of this measure is MIPS CQM, you can submit it through a registry. It is one of the most effective of all the MIPS data submission methods thus far.

You can submit it if you are part of the following areas, provided you fulfill the low-volume threshold for MIPS:

    • Family medicine
    • Internal medicine
    • Preventive medicine
    • Nephrology
    • Endocrinology
    • Nutrition/dietician
  1. Heart Failure (HF): Beta-Blocker Therapy for Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction (LVSD)

Measure number 2 is related to the heart. American Academy of Cardiologists

It includes people aged 18 and above who were diagnosed with heart failure (HF) with a present or past left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) < 40% and were prescribed beta-blocker therapy either within a year of procedure in an outpatient setting or at each hospital discharge.

Reporting MIPS through this measure sets the tone for the management of chronic conditions. Gladly, it is available in both eCQM and CQM type, thus acceptable through various sources.

Specialties for which this measure is suitable to include:

  • Cardiology
  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Hospitalists
  • Skilled nursing facility
  1. Anti-Depressant Medication Management

Psychiatrists act as pillars of healthcare when it comes to mental health treatment. Especially, their role is critical through the COVID-19 pandemic. Could there be a worse time for mental health issues to rise? Well, it could be worse!

Being grateful and using empathy as a tool to interact with people around us is needed for sure. The description of this measure that we have with us is mostly for eligible psychiatrists. MIPS 2020 presents numerous measures to report with accuracy and data integrity as the two requirements.

It is quality measure #9, according to the official fact sheet released by CMS.

How do we describe it?

It aims to find a percentage of people aged 18 years and above who were treated for mental illness and prescribed antidepressants. As per their depression symptoms, they have prescribed medication for months. You should report the following two types:

  1. First, the percentage of patients who were on antidepressants for at least 84 days (12 weeks)
  2. Second, the percentage of patients who were on antidepressants for at least 180 days (6 months)

Why is this measure meaningful?

It is in line with the prevention and treatment of opioid and substance use disorders. A MIPS consulting firm helps you select the right measures to report. More importantly, it is the accuracy and data completeness that matters to maximize MIPS incentives.

The collection type available for this measure is eCQM. Moreover, the specialties that this measure services include:

  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Mental/behavioral health
  1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Dilated Macular Examination

Eyes let us see the beauty around us, thankfully. They show us the world as it is. In this quality measure, people aged 50 years and above are to participate. As an EC, you are to report it once they are diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), followed by a dilated macular examination.

Further, it led to the recording of the presence or absence of macular thickening or geographic atrophy or hemorrhage and the intensity of the damage caused during one or more office visits within the 12-month assessment period.

Henceforth, this measure assesses the chronic conditions management area. Ophthalmologists are to report it through their MIPS consultant. MIPS solutions and to send MIPS data via clinical quality measures type is doable with plenty of support from qualified registries.

The collection type for this measure includes:

  • Medicare Part B Claims
  • MIPS CQM

In fact, it is only available for the ophthalmology specialty.

  1. Diabetic Retinopathy: Communication with the Physician Managing Ongoing Diabetes Care

As the title clearly says, the measure goes against the menace of diabetes and its effect on the eyes. Value-based care becomes viable to bring back quality into healthcare, and at the same time dial-down, healthcare costs.

The measure specifications for clinicians help in its understanding. Our research concluded this measure to be part of the MIPS Quality measures list released officially by CMS.

Essentially, MIPS 2020 covers the continuing process of our healthcare, moving in the right direction. Let us see what the measure means:

“Percentage of patients aged 18 years and older with a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy who had a dilated macular or fundus exam performed with documented communication to the physician who manages the ongoing care of the patient with diabetes mellitus regarding the findings of the macular or fundus exam at least once within 12 months.”

Willing to go after MIPS data submission for this measure? It is most likely to score high if reported accurately. That is where P3 comes in to report to CMS on your behalf. The basics of this measure put it amongst the CQMs and eCQMs. Moreover, it is a high priority measure applicable to the ophthalmology specialty.

  1. Communication with the Physician or Other Clinician Managing On-Going Care Post-Fracture for Men and Women Aged 50 Years and Older

It is a measure that directly informs of the health of our seniors as far as their fractures and overall health is concerned. The meaningful area under discussion here is the Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Promoting Interoperability.

What does the measure exactly mean?

According to CMS, it derives the following explanation:

“Percentage of patients aged 50 years and older treated for a fracture with documentation of communication, between the physician treating the fracture and the physician or other clinician managing the patient’s on-going care, that a fracture occurred and that the patient was or should be considered for osteoporosis treatment or testing.”

It is submitted by the physician who treats the fracture and who therefore is held accountable for the communication. A high priority measure, to begin with, you can use Medicare Part B Claims and MIPS CQMs as its collection types.

As an EC, if you are part of the following specialties, you can choose to report this measure.
• Family medicine
• Internal medicine
• Orthopedic surgery
• Preventive medicine
• Rheumatology

  1.   Advance Care Plan

The Advance Care Plan deals with many branches of healthcare, including Cardiology, Family Medicine, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Neurology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, and more.

How Do We Describe this MIPS Quality Measure?

MIPS in healthcare defines this measure by the percentage of the patients aged 65 years or older with an Advance Care Plan. This measure is also valid for those patients who document another decision-maker on their behalf as a surrogate on authentic medical records.

Another situation is when the medical records show that the Advance Care Plan was discussed with the patient, but they could not provide a surrogate neither they wished to.

MIPS 2020 Reporting Instruction for Advance Care Plan

MIPS eligible clinicians can submit this quality measure for just one patient seen throughout the performance period. There is no specific diagnosis attached to this MIPS Quality Measure. However, the MIPS Qualified Registry on behalf of physicians can submit data for the quality services provided to the patient based on the measure-specific denominator coding.

It is to note that that this measure applies to all healthcare settings, be it nursing home, etc., except for emergencies.

Measure Submission Type

Individual clinicians, groups, and third-party intermediaries such as a MIPS Qualified Registry submit the related data to CMS. However, only those third-party intermediaries can submit data, which used Medicare Part B claims.

Conclusion

Thus, paying special attention to the MIPS quality measures can maximize the chance to earn positive adjustments and even incentives.

It all depends on the CMS MIPS quality measures that you submit to CMS. Therefore, MDs and DOs, take time to strategize MIPS solutions properly and improve your financial situation.