Avoid a MIPS penalty for 2017 with the test option

Quanum EHRIf your practice is participating in the Quality Payment Program (QPP), otherwise known as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), for Year 2017, then you probably know that data submissions are due by March 31, 2018. Now is the time to take action to help you avoid a 4% payment penalty in 2019.

Attempting to avoid a penalty is easy, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says this can be achieved simply by doing something small – what they call the “test” option. With “test,” you won’t be earning any bonus dollars, but you can attempt to avoid the 4% payment penalty.

This article focuses on the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track. Recall that MIPS combines 3 Medicare “legacy” programs – the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value-based Payment Modifier (VM), and the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for Eligible Professionals. Under MIPS, physicians and other clinicians submit measures and activities focused on quality – that assess evidence-based and specialty-specific standards as well as practice-based improvement activities; cost of services; and the use of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) to support interoperability.

First, find out if you should participate in MIPS. If you are eligible for MIPS and want to “test,” CMS says you may choose to submit data from any of these categories:

  • Quality: Clinicians can choose to submit the minimally required data of 1 quality measure, for 1 patient for 1 day. Performance score doesn’t matter.
  • Improvement Activities: Consider submitting 1 improvement activity to help you avoid a negative payment adjustment. The activity may be high-weighted or medium-weighted, depending on practice size.
  • Advancing Care Information (ACI): To test, you may report 4 or 5 ACI base score measures (depending on whether you have a 2014 or 2015 certified EHR, respectively) to avoid a negative payment adjustment.

For the easiest, quickest method possible, consider reporting 1 Quality measure for 1 patient.

To learn more about how to report for MACRA, go to the CMS Quality Payment Program resource library. Here you can find many resources about the program, including the MIPS 101 Guide, as well as information about reporting for each category.

In addition to reporting for 2017, you’ll want to start preparing for 2018. When planning for the 2018 reporting period, be strategic – make plans to continue avoiding a negative payment adjustment or to earn a performance bonus.

If you have any questions about charting for Quality Measures, Advancing Care Information (ACI), or Improvement Activities please call our support line at 1.800.697.9302.

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