Future of Health CareMACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Performance Improvement
September 20, 2017

Physicians Aren’t Engaged in Performance Because Measure Results Aren’t Real

According to management guru Peter Drucker, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it.” Quality measurement and reporting have been rooted in similar reasoning. The idea is that we find out what’s wrong, and then we launch programs to improve it. That’s the linear route mapped out by Medicare starting with Meaningful Use, PQRS quality reporting, Value Modifier comparisons, and moving into current MACRA MIPS and APMs. But physicians have known something for a while that others have been unwilling to accept: quality reporting measures don’t give you a foundation for improving outcomes. Why? Because performance measurement does not…
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Academic Medical CentersFuture of Health CareMACRAValue-Based Health Care
September 13, 2017

Can Academic Medical Centers Be a Force for Health Care Reform?

Can Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) survive Value-Based Health Care and its metamorphosis to financial risk? That’s the question many industry watchers have been asking for several years, as margins have slimmed and some university-based programs have sold off their facilities and physician groups to private interests. But a number of economic and policy impacts are generating greater urgency regarding the status of AMCs, threatening their ability to continue their historical three-part mission of teaching, research and specialized patient care. While AMCs have been targeted as “high rollers” by those seeking to control health care costs, we should be very concerned…
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MACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Qualified Clinical Data Registry Reporting
September 6, 2017

October 2 Is Almost Here: Are You MIPS-Ready?

Calendar check! October 2, the last chance to start your continuous 90-day participation in MIPS, is nearly here. Those who meet minimum standards in the “Pick Your Pace” transition year will avoid a whopping 4 percent penalty on their 2019 Medicare Part B reimbursements. Those who exceed these requirements and perform strongly in MIPS stand to earn incentive payments on top of the regular reimbursement schedule. To make sure that you’re among those who will earn incentives (or at least avoid penalties), take an opportunity to review MIPS requirements, assess what’s in place and close the remaining gaps. What Do…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)MACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Value-Based Health Care
August 23, 2017

CMS Eliminates Episode Groups in MIPS Cost Tracking for 2018—But Providers Should Not

It’s no surprise that Cost is one of the most significant targets of Medicare Value-Based Health Care initiatives, as well as those in the private sector. So it was a real surprise last month to learn that CMS would delay weighing Cost as a component of MACRA MIPS total scoring. Equally significant is the CMS plan to scrap the ten episodic cost measures that were part of the cost calculation for provider groups in exchange for new, “to be determined” versions. Does this retreat from Cost and episodic costs calculation signal a big shift in the direction of Medicare Value-Based…
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Alternative Payment Models (APM)Future of Health CareMACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Performance ImprovementQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
August 16, 2017

How to Evolve MACRA MIPS Quality Reporting for Better Physician and Patient Value

Critics are pushing back against Medicare quality reporting, deeming it burdensome and time-consuming to meet confusing quality measures. One survey asserts that barely a majority feel knowledgeable about MACRA or prepared to achieve long-term success. Indeed, CMS is pulling back on program requirements, with the stated desire of making it easier for physicians. So, here's what should be examined—especially when discussing Value-Based Health Care: Does MIPS Quality Reporting meet the benefit test for the effort expended by physicians and their staff? If the point of Quality Measurement and Reporting is to improve care for patients, can it fulfill that potential?…
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Future of Health CarePatient EmpowermentResearch
August 9, 2017

How to Recognize “Fake” Medical News — And Why It Matters

Is coffee good for you? A recent headline suggested that people who drink coffee live longer. Sounds great to me. I drink a lot of coffee, so maybe I will be immortal. But, wait, another report links coffee to cancer. Dang. Estrogens were once touted as a life saving elixir for women of elegant ages, until these hormone supplements were linked to increased cancer risk. Wine will either add to your life expectancy or increase chances of breast cancer. But if you are married and have cancer, your outcome is better; you live longer (and can drink more wine?). Eggs…
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Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Performance ImprovementQualified Clinical Data Registry ReportingValue-Based Health Care
August 2, 2017

Why Real Improvement Pays in Your MIPS Improvement Activities Strategy

What separates MIPS from its quality program predecessors? On the Quality Payment Program website, the only component that isn’t a reincarnation of a previous program is the Improvement Activities (IA) category. Although the IA category has a smaller weight than the Quality category, it has the potential to be just as important, if not more so for your composite MIPS score. How can 15 points compare to 60? The answer lies in the way in which those 60 points are earned. It also derives from a fundamental flaw of CMS quality reporting initiatives, to date. The Problem: The Focus On…
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Future of Health CareMedical Decision-MakingPatient Empowerment
July 26, 2017

It’s Not What We Don’t Know That Hurts Us: It‘s What We “Know” That Isn’t So

Making a decision is a—or really—“the” fundamental activity of life. The decisions we make, the consequences of those decisions, our feelings about the consequences, our interpretation of whether we made a good or bad decision based on those consequences, in total, form the basis of our life’s experiences, and, often, how we decide the next time. My children used to say, “Duh,” to my muttering an obvious observance like, “It sure is hot today,” because the temperature just hit 100 degrees. The opening sentence of this blog may seem so obvious that it may trigger a similar response. Making a…
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Future of Health CareMACRAMerit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)Value-Based Health Care
July 19, 2017

The Future of MACRA: Will MIPS Survive?

Will MIPS survive as Medicare’s overarching performance measurement and improvement program for physicians? That’s the question as providers finalize their plans for meeting requirements in 2017 and beyond. MIPS Is in Adjustment Mode MIPS is undergoing a significant transition. How do we know? First, the ink is hardly dry on the huge rewrite of various Medicare Value-Based Health Care programs combined and streamlined through the MACRA Final Rule in October 2016. That rewrite replaced PQRS, the Value-Based Payment Modifier and Meaningful Use with a Merit Incentive Pay System (MIPS) for physicians. Yet, while MIPS is still in its initial implementation…
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Future of Health CareMedical Decision-MakingNarrow NetworksPatient Empowerment
July 12, 2017

Narrow Networks and Rationed Health Care, Version 2017

For decades, our nation’s health care system has been highly valued for its bounty. Access to the most advanced technology, surgery and expertise has been a point of pride. The concept of rationing health care, by contrast, has been taboo. We accused the British of rationing in their universal health system when people had to wait for care or couldn’t get specialty services. We proudly counted the number of Canadians crossing the border to get cardiac surgery in this country. Oregon was accused of rationing when it released a list of prioritized health services under its health system, and the…
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