Talking about MACRA & MIPS, it is important to learn that in 2016, MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) was officially introduced, ruling out the existing and outdated Sustainable Growth Rate method. Previously, providers received payments based on the number of Medicare patients they provided care to; rather than being paid for the quality of care they provided. Not only was this method proven to be ineffective for the patients, but drastic effects were observed when it came to receiving financial support for Medicare expenses. Treating a high volume of patients (quality or no quality) basically meant higher payments for providers. MACRA established a Quality Payment Program (QPP), a method that will motivate providers to deliver well thought out quality care to patients by rewarding them with payment adjustments. Eligible providers are able to choose one of two pathways in the QPP, MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) or APMs (Alternative Payment Models). An estimated 500,000 providers will be eligible to participate in the first year of MIPS. The amount MACRA will provide for positive payment adjustments is quite overwhelming, up to 3 billion dollars in the next six years! Let’s take a closer look at MIPS, and how P3Care can provide you with consulting services to ensure you understand how to take full advantage of this new and improved payment process.
In order to take part in MIPS, you must meet the requirements associated with Medicare billing (Part B). Selecting this route of the QPP focuses on receiving payment adjustments based on the specific data you have submitted. For the 2017 transition year, there are three different categories. To help better understand how you’ll be scored under MIPS, specific weights are given to each category. This will allow you to divide your attention accordingly. You will also need to determine if you are participating in MIPS individual or as a group. Here’s a closer look at the MIPS performance categories for 2017.
60% of the data submitted will pertain to this category; signifying the main purpose of eliminating the previous method, and implementing MIPS. In this category, providers which practice solely are required to report up to 6 quality measures (out of 271), which are the most associated with their specialty. Clinicians will be scored based on the number of days they have submitted data for (read more below), along with accuracy and completion of all the required specifications for each measure. Closely assessing each measure helps determine if high-quality healthcare goals are achieved. The total number of points earned on 6 quality measures + any bonus points will determine your final score of the Quality category.
· Advancing Care Information
Taking up 25% of the total MIPS score, this category replaces the previous Meaningful Use program. You’ll need to select one of two reporting measure sets, depending on your EHR edition. Each option is composed of different measures; therefore it’s essential you only report on which option relates to you. There are three subcategories that will determine you’re the total score for this category, they include Base Score, Performance Score, and Bonus Score. Failing to complete all of the requirements in the Base Score category will result in a 0 in the overall Advancing Care Information category.
· Improvement Activities
The remainder of the score (for 2017) will come from the Improvement Activities category, weighing at 15%. This category allows CMS to determine if clinicians are improving clinical practice to its highest potential. A few key aspects include providing quality care by involving the patients in decisions, continuous coordination between provider and patient, providing self-management techniques, patient/family education, providing follow-ups, using safe technology, and being reasonably accessible. You’ll have the opportunity to choose from a variety of activities, that best suit your practice, to report data on. Each activity is categorized as either has High or Medium; high weighted activities are worth more points. Individual Medicare providers will need to submit data on up to 4 activities for a minimum of 90 days, in order to earn full potential points.
In the last but not least, Cost is the fourth category, upon which physicians’ MIPS score is based upon.
Physicians don’t have to report separate data for cost category. However, CMS calculates this MIPS quality measure by analyzing the submitted administrative data.
For the year MIPS 2017, the cost category had a value of 0% in the final scorecard. MIPS 2018 was the first performance year in which, the cost was set for 10%. This score accounts for the lower cost expenditure while physicians provide high-quality healthcare services to patients.
Right now, we are passing through MIPS 2019, which is the 3rd year of this value-based program. The cost-quality measure is a significant part this year as well and accounts for 15% of the final MIPS score.
MIPS is running quite successfully with more and more clinicians taking part in it every year. Its impact on the healthcare industry is progressive and physicians upon realizing its importance for revenue cycle management are subject to adopt modern and cost-effective healthcare ways.