It’s go time for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and just as we did last year, we are all looking for pain-free ways to avoid a penalty.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is designed to shift physician payment so that it rewards value and quality over volume via the creation of the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The QPP offers two pathways for reimbursement: MIPS and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APM). (MIPS comprises the Physician-Value Based Payment Modifier (VBM), Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and the Medicare EHR Incentive Program). Most dermatologists will not participate in the APM pathway; MIPS is the course for our specialty.
CMS recently published the 2018 rules for the 2020 fee schedule. Are you exempt? You may be if:
- Your Medicare allowable income is less than $90,000, or
- You have seen fewer than 200 unique Medicare patients
If you think you fit this bill, go to qpp.cms.gov/participation-lookup and enter your NPI number. A generated report will tell you if you’re exempt or in MIPS for 2018.
G CODES FOR RECOMMENDED MEASURES
If you are not exempt, you need to complete four measures on at least one patient in 2018 to avoid the -5 percent penalty in 2020. (Note: One measure that I recommend, influenza immunization, is not available to use until after October 1, 2018.)
If you report as a group, and have more than 14 practitioners, you will need to do five (rather than four) measures on at least one patient to avoid the penalty.
I have devised a way to avoid the MIPS penalty in 2020 without having to use a registry or even have an EHR. This method assumes you are on paper. However, you can also do it if you’re on an EHR, you do not have DataDerm (or another registry), and you are in a group of fewer than 15 clinicians.
You need to get 15 MIPS points to avoid the penalty, compared to only three points required last year.
Any practice with fewer than 15 practitioners automatically gets a Small Practice Bonus of five points So, you only need an additional 10 points to avoid the penalty in 2020.
The only way to get points, given the above assumptions, is to submit quality measures via claims. I suggest submitting measure 130 (documentation of medications in chart with G code G8427)—as you did last year.
That leaves 3 more measures to submit on your claim (asterisks refer to appropriate G codes to submit on your claim, See box): 110 (influenza)*, 111 (Pneumovax)**, 226 (tobacco use)***.
One Day At a Time
As I did last year, I will be submitting these on more than one patient. My intent is to submit all four measures on all new Medicare patients in one day of seeing patients. That way, I spend no more than one day working to avoid the 5 percent penalty in 2020.
CMS has recently made their web interface available to submit data this year. You should be able to do one high-weighted improvement activity—and potentially submit it through the CMS web portal—and be exempt from the penalty without submitting any quality measures. Logging into their website (qpp.cms.gov/) is not as easy as you might think, so give it a try first. n