Under regulations proposed earlier this year, physicians will face up to a 4% fee schedule reduction in 2019 for failure to meet the reporting requirements of the new Quality Payment Program in 2017. Now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it is going to revise those proposed regulations to make it easier to avoid the negative adjustment and perhaps even earn a slight positive adjustment in 2019. The final rules will be published around November 1, 2016 and will take effect on January 1, 2017.
This year is the final reporting period under the now-familiar Physicians Quality Reporting System (PQRS). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just announced proposed regulations that will govern new Medicare quality-reporting rules known as the Quality Payment Program (QPP) beginning in 2017. This new system, which was enacted as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), comprises both the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs). The final rules will be published later this year, but physicians can begin now to explore whether they want to join an APM or adapt to the MIPS reporting requirements.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two reminders recently that physicians must be working constantly to maintain compliance with the Medicare quality reporting programs. The current regulations call for adjustment of the fees paid to physicians for services to Medicare patients based on annual measurement of the physicians’ performance under quality and cost metrics. Radiologists must focus on their quality measures because the system assigns them to an Average Cost pool by default since they have little or no control over this factor.
At Healthcare Administrative Partners, our mission is to educate practices on CMS Quality Programs and provide a path to optimized performance even in the most challenging markets. This is the final installment of our series of articles, “A Program for Successful PQRS Participation for Radiology Practices,” which was specifically designed to help you maximize reimbursement and reduce compliance issues under the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). So far we’ve covered...
Now that 2016 is in full-swing, the new realities of our changing healthcare economy are becoming very apparent to providers across all specialties, and radiology is no exception. As physician practice leaders, assessing how to maintain and grow your practice as the transition to value-based compensation continues is not an easy task. At Healthcare Administrative Partners, our mission is to educate practices on these matters and provide a path to optimized performance even in the most challenging markets. Our continuing series of articles, “A Program for Successful PQRS Participation for Radiology Practices,” is specifically designed to help you maximize reimbursement and reduce compliance issues under the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). So far we’ve covered:
Congress has mandated that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) move forward with quality-based programs and associated payment models. In 2015, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was signed into law, expanding the Medicare quality-reporting programs that began as a voluntary incentive ten years ago with the original Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). Today it is more important than ever to embrace and maximize success in these programs and be ready to move ahead as they evolve.
A variety of federal legislative activities during 2014 and 2015 contained rulings that will begin to affect Medicare reimbursement to physicians next year. Most recently, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Final Rule for 2016 that will govern its payments to physicians. The overall impact of the final MPFS changes to radiology and radiation oncology practices compared with the proposed changes issued earlier this year, is estimated by CMS as follows:
Participation in Medicare’s PQRS program is important to radiologists in order for them to maintain full reimbursement under the Medicare fee schedule, and to perhaps earn a higher level of payment in future years. Radiologists providing services in Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities (IDTFs) will not be able to participate in PQRS, according to a ruling described in the June 16, 2015 issue of the RBMA Washington Insider. This most recent guideline issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) clarifies past guidance by stating, “After further review, CMS is announcing that EPs [eligible professionals] who provide services under an IDTF or an independent lab (IL) (and on behalf of services provided by that IDTF or IL) are not able to participate in PQRS. Therefore EPs who provide services [billed] under an IDTF or IL will not receive the 2015-2018 PQRS payment adjustments for services associated with the IDTF or IL”. This reverses CMS guidance issued as recently as March, 2015.
Congress has enacted the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA), which makes sweeping changes to the Medicare payment system. Initially conceived to put an end to the perennial struggle with the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) methodology, MACRA replaces the SGR with a valuation system that will minimally increment Medicare fees in the near term but which will eventually tie physicians’ fees to the quality measures they report.
The stage is set for a new era of Medicare payment modification using data self-reported by physicians that measures the quality of their work. The two programs already in place are the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM). These two will work in concert to determine either a positive, neutral or negative payment adjustment to the basic Medicare fee schedule, generally two years following the reporting year. Note that the rewards and penalties for these programs are cumulative; failure to meet the PQRS reporting requirements will invoke a penalty under both the PQRS and the VM programs.