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Top 8 concerns around MIPS and MACRA in 2017

Last week we attended the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) Paradigm conference in Chicago. Our uber-smart peers in the radiology and medical billing arenas gave us many insights on ways to enhance the value of our registries and our actionable results auditing services. One attendee hit it home: “It’s all about relationships and how you can support patients.”  Medicine isn’t a competition; it’s about finding ways to collaborate so we can all benefit from a well-balanced healthcare system.

 

At RBMA Paradigm, we wanted to gain a sense of the climate around MACRA and MIPS (the new Medicare quality payment program that replaced PQRS and Meaningful Use this year). There was a pervasive chill and feelings of frustration when we brought up Quality Measures reporting. However, all agreed that CMS is on the right track with its initiative to improve quality by emphasizing that we are “making patients healthier”.

 

Why does such a warm idea feel so frigid? To help us answer this better, we met with several RBMA attendees to gauge problematic concerns. In previous years, research has shown quality reporting to be expensive and time consuming (Casalino et al., 2016), however we have higher hopes for 2017.

 

We collected the top eight concerns (below) and submitted them to Brian Gale, MBA, MD. Dr. Gale is a radiologist, registry manager and healthcare communications expert in New York City. He founded a quality and safety organization called SaferMD, LLC where he serves as Managing Member. He created additional CMS-approved reporting measures so that radiologists can maximize their reporting scores. Dr. Gale is currently advising practices on MIPS.

 

Solutions to Eight Common MIPS Concerns

 

  1. 1. Groups are struggling to extract the data required for MIPS measures reporting. Structured reports offer one way to find measures data more easily. Simplify measures data extraction by building macros into structured report templates to fix the location of the data required for Quality measures.

 

  1. 2. Reporting is expensive and time consuming. MIPS measure reporting may be easier than you think. The MIPS Quality category requires only six measures, compared to nine under PQRS. If that feels too burdensome, providers can report fewer measures to avoid negative payment adjustments.

 

  1. 3. Hurry up and wait. Some groups are ready to start reporting but they are just sitting on the data when they could be benchmarking. Your wait is almost over. CMS should announce approvals for Qualified Clinical Data Registries within the next two weeks. The NJII-SaferMD registry will enable providers to benchmark their measures performance against others in our database.

 

  1. 4. A lack of ongoing data management. Don’t wait until the last minute. Our registry allows you to submit and benchmark measures performance as you go along.

 

  1. 5. Lack of support. The process shouldn’t feel so elusive. Our NJII-SaferMD registry customers gave us glowing feedback about our support team. They were pleased with both their knowledge and their response times. There are also good online resources such as qpp.cms.gov.

 

  1. 6. Too overwhelmed with the process to aim high. Earning top Medicare payouts is possible but groups are often just trying to avoid penalties. CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavin announced a “three speed” option for 2017 reporting. Providers that report just one measure can avoid negative payment adjustments in 2019.

 

  1. 7. There is a need for benchmarking. It’s beneficial to know how you’re doing compared to other practices in order to get the top scores. The NJII-SaferMD registry benchmarks your performance against all the other providers in our database. Submit data on as many measures as you’d like, then pick the highest performance measures to submit.

 

  1. 8. Not enough measures for radiologists to reach top score when reporting with a QDR. NJII-SaferMD QCDR with radiology-specific measures will allows radiologists to reach the top MIPS scores.

 

In moving forward with MIPS, practices can obtain guidance from an expert who can lead them through the current and upcoming changes. It’s still early enough to stay ahead and reach a top score. Our 30 exclusive radiology measures for MIPS 2017 should be approved within the next couple of weeks and you can then start the reporting process. We will be holding a webinar to discuss these concerns and help you simplify the process. Send additional thoughts to Katie.Retelle@safermd.com or visit Safermd.com.

 

Upcoming:  Webinar with SaferMD and NJII on May 17, 1pm ET. Register here.

 

Casalino et al. (2016, March). US Physician Practices Spend More Than $15.4 Billion Annually To Report Quality Measures. Health Affairs. 35:3. Retrieved from: http://www.physiciansfoundation.org/uploads/default/US_Physician_Practices_Spend_More_Than_15.4_Billion_Annually_To_Report_Quality_Measures.pdf

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