With the CMS' Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and value-based care model in full effect, it's important for physicians to understand what MIPS means for their practices, particularly when it comes to understanding what types of technologies are available to help them avoid a negative adjustment to their Medicare reimbursement.
As a practicing dermatologist, I've faced the ongoing challenges that evolving government mandates present and their subsequent reporting requirements. That said, these mandates, particularly MIPS, present an opportunity to refine and streamline existing regulations, while also taking a concerted step toward an effective quality care model and reimbursing physicians for value over volume.
While another health IT mandate may seem daunting, the right electronic health record (EHR) system can automate quality reporting and reduce time spent on administrative reporting and tasks not directly related to clinical care. Indeed, this task is almost impossible without technology. MIPS has created a switchers' market when it comes to EHR systems where more physicians are looking to change EHR providers.
Modern, innovative EHR systems that can organize clinical data in a structured and actionable format empower doctors to extract meaningful insights at both the patient and population levels. That's why having an EHR system that automatically handles scheduling, document management, billing and reporting is crucial. Intelligent systems that can automate mundane reporting and administrative tasks will empower physicians to focus on clinical care.
The ultimate goal of MIPS is to advance quality in healthcare, and technology will continue to be a critical contributor to its success. While emerging technologies like telemedicine are advancing care across all sectors, implementing the right EHR system is one of, if not the, most critical first step that physicians must take in order to achieve financial and clinical success under MIPS.
If you're still weary of what is to become of your practice under the new regulations, it's important to understand and become familiar with ways you can report and excel under MIPS. Below are a few tips for MIPS to better prepare your practice for the MACRA rollout that started in January 2017:
·Keep an eye on your score with dashboards. With a dashboard in your EHR system you should be able to keep an eye on your score in near real-time, from day to day before you submit. You want to have the highest score possible so you can partake not only in the upwards adjustment but also in the $500 million designated for exceptional performance for performing above the 70 percent mark.
·Know how to score well when it comes to Quality Measures. When it comes to Quality Measures, you need at least 20 eligible cases per measure. It's important to select measures which have benchmarks. Most of the measures with benchmarks were derived from Physician Quality Reporting System data taken from 2015. For a listing of all of the measures, I suggest heading to the CMS website and selecting benchmarks that have such established measures
·Reduce documentation burden. Be sure that the EHR vendor you select captures the data being entered at the point of care and can enable it to be used for multiple purposes from creating patient education materials to reporting for value-based care.
·Get a head start on Advancing Care Information. To start, selecting a vendor with successful Meaningful Use (MU) attestations is critical. The fastest way to 50 points includes keeping a Security Risk Analysis Binder, e-prescribe for at least one patient, provide access to the patient portal for at least one patient, and send a summary of care measure for at least one patient.
·Improvement Activities vary by practice size. This is really dictated by your group size. If you are a small group – defined as 15 or fewer providers – you will need two medium or one high weighted Clinical Improvement Activity. And if you are a large group – defined as 16 or more providers – you will need four medium or two high weighted Clinical Improvement Activities.
·Find bonus points. Specialty registries as well as Clinical Improvement Activities which can include Expanded Practice Access, Structured Medication Reviews, Closing the Referral Loop and Enhanced Patient Portal are all ways to earn extra points.
At the end of the day, physicians want to focus on positive outcomes for their patients without increasing the administrative burden or worrying too much about the financial health of their practice. Implementing an EHR system that is "intelligent" will empower physicians to focus on patient care. It also ensures that their practice, business and ability to provide quality care remains constant as mandates continue to arise and evolve. MIPS doesn't have to be a four-letter word when you have the right technology in place.
Jordan Miller, MD at Palm Beach Dermatology and Senior Medical Director of Dermatology at Modernizing Medicine