May 23, 2018
Last week the conversation about financial risk for providers in ACOs took on a decidedly different and more contentious tone. After months of CMS reports of ACO growth and success, while retreating on MIPS quality reporting requirements as concessions to “provider burden,” CMS signaled that they were finished waiting for providers to accept financial risk under Value-Based Health Care. With a third of Medicare patients served by an ACO and an even higher number of patients receiving health care via private sector ACOs, the industry seems on track to adopt ACOs as the preferred model of health care contracting and…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
July 5, 2017
Who Will Fill the Leadership Void in Health Care Reform if MACRA Rolls Back?
Amidst the political cacophony over health care coverage for American consumers, a fundamental question has been relegated to a soundbite: How can we control cost? Everyone (in the industry or participating in the debate) knows that cost drives our health care system problems, including affordable insurance coverage. The fallacy at the heart of all the wrangling is that we can address coverage affordability without confronting cost. But doing something about cost in a de-regulation environment is exceptionally difficult. That is why we are finding ourselves in the midst of both a MACRA implementation and a likely MACRA Rollback. And no…Read More
February 28, 2017
How to Turn 2016 PQRS Success into Better Care (and a MIPS Win)
March has arrived. The submission window for PQRS shuts on March 31. It’s the moment of truth for providers, practices and Registries. Are you ready to report, ready to panic or somewhere in-between? It’s probably too late to implement an initiative designed to improve your PQRS measures, but with the right Registry partner, there is still a path to 2016 PQRS success, even if you aren’t “PQRS Ready.” More importantly, if you follow these three steps, you’ll also create a pathway to success in the Quality Payment Program (either through MIPS or an APM)—both by avoiding penalties, as well as…Read More
January 10, 2017
Can Health Care Stay the Course of Reform Amidst Uncertainty?
With the new year finally here, health care organizations need to know: How should you proceed amidst uncertainty about Medicare policy, including Value-Based and Risk programs initiated by the Obama administration? In the crosshairs are the new, complex Quality Payment Programs under MACRA, including both MIPS and Alternative Payment Models (APMs) such as ACOs. Although MACRA had bipartisan support in the 114th Congress, it was the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that created the foundation for ACOs and other Value-Based programs. As the new Congress hurtles toward ACA repeal, the landscape for all of health care is murkier than ever. The…Read More
November 29, 2016
PQRS Homestretch: Finish Line In Sight (But You Haven’t Crossed It Yet)
It’s almost time to bid farewell to PQRS (formerly PQRI), and say hello to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). But PQRS hasn’t ended yet; even when it does, financial implications will not be felt until 2018. Those who do not report PQRS are at risk of being penalized twice, once for PQRS and once for the Value Modifier (VM). Those who do report may earn incentives, penalties or be held neutral, depending on cost and quality results. Ideally, you are already using PQRS as a stepping-stone to succeed in the Quality Payment Program, but even if you haven’t, there…Read More
November 22, 2016
Improve MAV Audit Success with Expert Data
There are 198 measures available for PQRS Registry Reporting in 2016—seems like there should be enough options to select the most advantageous measures for providers. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the case. Even though there are a whopping 21 measures that could be skipped for each 1 reported, and twice as many National Quality Strategy (NQS) Domains as needed, not everyone will be able to report on 9 measures across 3 Domains (including a cross-cutting measure!). Why is there difficulty in meeting basic reporting requirements? Because measures do not apply to specialties in equal amounts, nor are they evenly distributed within…Read More
November 8, 2016
Risky Business: How to Make Risk Adjustment Fair and Accurate for Quality Measurement
No two patients are the same. Some are much sicker than others. Obvious? Yes. But this is the fundamental challenge of quality measurement. As public scrutiny of physician performance intensifies via the CMS Physician Compare website, and as outcome comparisons become ever more crucial to Medicare and private insurance reimbursement strategies, finding a fair and accurate way to adjust for risk is critical. Each patient population has its own challenges. Academic medical centers may get the most difficult cases, but solo practitioners see the entire community, and without the infrastructure available elsewhere. For health care to improve for all patients,…Read More
September 13, 2016
CMS Okays MACRA Flexibility: Standstill or Startup for Providers?
With the CMS announcement last week that the final MACRA Rules will let providers pick and choose activities—or even delay requirements—2017 implementation is now a toss-up. Will providers double down on efforts to meet the MACRA standards in 2018? Or, will eased deadline pressure reverse momentum within health care systems? There are many valid reasons why the lead-time decision is important. MACRA represents one of the biggest overhauls of the Medicare reimbursement program, and many of the elements have not been fleshed out. Releasing final rules one month in advance of their going into effect surely makes it difficult for…Read More