Archives: Medicare

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Taking a Closer Look at the MIPS Improvement Activities Component

While the Quality and Advancing Care Information components account for more significant percentages of a provider’s overall Merit-Based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPS) score (60% and 25%, respectively), one also needs to focus on the work required under the Clinical Practice Improvement Activities component, which comprises 15% of the MIPS score. The Centers for Medicare & … Continue Reading

New Mandatory Episodic Payment Models: Slight Delay, But Not Going Away

During the last weeks of the Obama administration—on January 3, 2017—the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published a final rule implementing new mandatory episodic payment models (the “EPM Rule”) to take effect July 1, 2017.  These models include the following: Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Model: Acute care hospitals in 98 selected metropolitan statistical areas … Continue Reading

May 31 Deadline for 2018 Medicare Shared Savings Program

An organization interested in participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) as an accountable care organization (ACO) must file a non-binding Notice of Intent to Apply (NOIA) by 12 Noon EDT on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.  Only those organizations that file a NOIA will be permitted to file an MSSP application, which will be … Continue Reading

Am I Included in MIPS? New On-Line Lookup Tool

The lookup tool is available on the Quality Payment Program website.  To use it, an individual provider need only enter his or her 10-digit NPI.  The lookup tool then generates a personalized report for the provider, stating whether he or she is excluded from MIPS under the low-volume threshold. Specifically, the report lists each TIN … Continue Reading

MIPS Reporting: Getting Off on the Right Foot

A physician who did not report performance on quality measures to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) for 2015 now faces a 6% penalty on all Medicare Part B payments.  The same penalty will apply in 2018 for physicians who do not report performance for 2016. In addition to PQRS penalties, a 3% penalty now … Continue Reading

The Intersection of MIPS and MSSP: How the APM Scoring Standard Works

Previously, we highlighted several advantages of participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) as an accountable care organization (ACO).  Our list included the more favorable manner in which a physician’s score is calculated under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) if he or she is part of a Track 1 (no downside risk) MSSP … Continue Reading

Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program: When and Why

Once a year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) accepts applications for participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).  On March 22, CMS announced the deadlines for the 2018 application cycle. An organization interested in participating in the MSSP as an accountable care organization (ACO) effective January 1, 2018, must file a … Continue Reading

Clock Ticking on New Revenue Opportunity for MSSP ACOs

On December 8, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced two new models to increase patient engagement in care decisions by putting more information in the hands of Medicare beneficiaries. Under one of these models, the Shared Decision Making (SDM) Model, CMMI will pay ACOs participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program or the … Continue Reading

Key Provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act

With the focus on the future of the Affordable Care Act, the most recently enacted federal healthcare law—the 21st Century Cures Act—is getting less attention than it deserves.  The Cures Act, which weighs in at 312 pages, gained passage in both chambers by wide margins (392-26 in the House, 94-5 in the Senate) and was … Continue Reading

Medicare Advantage “Shopping Season”

The annual enrollment period (AEP) for Medicare beneficiaries to “shop” for their Medicare Advantage plan officially began October 15, 2016, and will end December 7, 2016.  This 54-day shopping season can be filled with anxiety, and many Medicare beneficiaries turn to their providers for input as a result.  Providers can help their patients in several … Continue Reading

MIPS Final Rule: Who’s In, Who’s Out, and Who Cares?

On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its final rule implementing the new Medicare Quality Payment Program, including the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS.  In response to providers’ concerns, CMS has made significant modifications to the proposed rule to ease program implementation.  Specifically, CMS has made four key … Continue Reading

Making a Go/No-Go Decision on CPC+: Key Factors to Consider

On August 1, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced the 14 regions that will be part of the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program.  These include the 7 regions now participating in the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (now known as “CPC Classic”) and 7 new regions. Primary care practices located in the … Continue Reading

Ambulatory Care Management Programs: New Revenue Opportunity for Specialists

Ambulatory care management programs generally are viewed as services offered by primary care providers.  However, specialists – oncologists, urologists, rheumatologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, to name a few – caring for patients with chronic conditions should evaluate this opportunity. By providing patient education, performing medication reconciliation, and arranging for support services, clinical staff bring care outside the … Continue Reading

2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule: Expanded Payments for Care Management Services

Since 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been expanding Medicare payments for care management services.  This trend continues in the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule.  Specifically, CMS proposes the following: Simplify the chronic care management (CCM) billing rules. Pay for complex CCM. Pay for care plan development. Pay for … Continue Reading

Medicare’s Proposed Episode Payment Model: 6 Things to Know Now as You Prepare for Later

On August 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a 248-page proposed rule detailing a new mandatory bundled payment program for heart attacks and bypass surgery. Like CMS’ current mandatory bundled payment program, Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR), the proposed Episode Payment Model (EPM) will make hospitals in select cities responsible … Continue Reading

MACRA Delay? Don’t Count On It

You may have seen a headline or two last week stating that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may delay MACRA’s effective date.  However, the agency has not announced any such delay.  Instead, CMS’ top official indicated the agency is considering some adjustments to the initial performance period. The U.S. Senate Finance Committee … Continue Reading

2017 OPPS Proposed Rule: 4 Things to Know and 4 Things to Think About Regarding Site-Neutral Payments

The recently published 2017 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Proposed Rule provides additional information regarding the site-neutral payment provisions included in Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The Proposed Rule explains certain aspects of the provisions that will prohibit newly established off-campus hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) from billing services and receiving payments … Continue Reading

May 31 Deadline for 2017 Medicare Shared Savings Program

An organization interested in participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) as an accountable care organization (ACO) must file a non-binding notice of intent (NOI) by 5:00 pm EDT Tuesday, May 31.  Only those organizations that file an NOI will be permitted to file an MSSP application, which will be due by 5:00 pm … Continue Reading

MIPS Proposed Rule: Big Changes to Medicare Physician Payments Starting in 2017

Good news:  2016 is the last year physicians have to report performance measure scores to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to avoid up to a 9% reduction in Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) payments under the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Value-Based Modifier Program, and the Meaningful Use Program. Not-so-good-news:  A … Continue Reading

Addressing Confusion Around Comprehensive Primary Care Plus

In the immediate aftermath of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s (CMMI) announcement of Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+), we have fielded numerous questions regarding the interplay of this new program with other Medicare initiatives.  Specifically, we have been asked how a provider should decide between participating in CPC+ and joining or continuing to … Continue Reading

2016 Medicare Physician Value Modifier Results – More of the Same

What Happened in 2016? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has now released the official results for the second year of the Medicare Physician Value Modifier Program (VM Program).  Groups of 10 or more eligible professionals (EPs) are subject to adjustments in their 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule payments based on their 2014 … Continue Reading
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