The American Medical Association joined with dozens of other national medical and physician groups in urging CMS to shorten the 2018 Merit-based Incentive Payment System or MIPS quality measure reporting period from a full calendar to 90 days citing delays across at least two fronts that would make reporting harder for physicians.
In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the AMA cited a "lack of timely and direct notification by CMS on whether a physician is MIPS eligible" and a separate "severe" delay by CMS in updating the QPP interactive website with 2018 information. The AMA said that with the next earliest update not scheduled until the summer, the shortened reporting period was crucial to reducing the reporting burden on physicians and making sure that physicians had enough time to report after receiving performance feedback from CMS.
The letter also called out several policy changes that could impact physician reporting and their ability to determine MIPS eligibility including expansion of the 2018 low-volume threshold exemption and the recently enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which excluded Medicare Part B drug costs from MIPS payment adjustments and from the low-volume threshold determination of MIPS eligibility.
"As a result, physicians cannot rely on historic estimates from CMS and had to wait on notifications from CMS to determine whether they are excluded under the expanded low-volume threshold," the letter said.
Physicians must also now go on the CMS website to determine their eligibility, instead of receiving a letter directly from CMS informing them of their status. The CMS QPP website has not yet been updated to include 2018 changes to the QPP rules and still only shows 2017 information.
"Given the QPP website is the primary means for educating physicians on the program, this severe delay would undermine physicians' ability to meet the 2018 requirements to successfully avoid a penalty. For small practices and medical group practices that manage reporting for dozens or even hundreds of clinicians under the program, this information is vital to the complex clinical and administrative coordination necessary to participate in MIPS," the letter said.
[Also: MedPAC votes to nix MIPS]
The AMA and other organizations also argued that clinicians and their practices could save on labor and costs by shortening the reporting period, as well as lessening the amount of paperwork weighing physicians down and keeping them from spending more time with patients.
In addition to the American Medical Association, the other organizations that signed the letter included the American College of Emergency Physicians, American Academy of Neurology, American College of Gastroenterology, Endocrine Society and many others.