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93% of MIPS Eligible Clinicians Earned Federal Incentives in 2017

New data from CMS shows 93 percent of MIPS eligible clinicians earned positive payment adjustments for their 2017 performance.

Nearly all of eligible clinicians participating in Year 1 of QPP recieved a positive payment adjustment.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Ninety-three percent of eligible clinicians that participated in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) earned positive payment adjustments for their performance in 2017.

CMS released this data in an announcement displaying performance results from Year 1 of QPP.

Only five percent of eligible clinicians received a negative payment adjustment for their MIPS performance in 2017, according to CMS data.

“We calculated that 1,057,824 MIPS eligible clinicians will receive a MIPS payment adjustment, either positive, neutral, or negative,” wrote CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a CMS blog post. “Of that population, 1,006,319 MIPS eligible clinicians reported data as either an individual, as a part of a group, or through an Alternative Payment Model (APM) and received a neutral payment adjustment or better.”

“Additionally, under the Advanced APM track, 99,076 eligible clinicians earned Qualifying APM Participant (QP) status,” Verma added.

Verma acknowledged the MIPS positive payment adjustments were “modest,” but attributed these slight incentives to the budget neutrality requirements part of MIPS, as well as the fact that 2017 was designated as a transition year for the program.

“The overall performance threshold for MIPS was established at a relatively low level of 3 points, and the availability of ‘pick your pace’ provided participation flexibility through three reporting options for clinicians: ‘test’, partial year, or full year reporting,” stated Verma.

By taking a gradual approach to MIPS implementation, CMS aimed to allow more eligible clinicians to successfully participate in the program. Many eligible clinicians exceeded the performance threshold, resulting in a wider distribution of positive payment adjustments.

“We expect that the gradual increases in the performance thresholds in future program years will create an evolving distribution of payment adjustments for high performing clinicians who continue to invest in improving quality and outcomes for beneficiaries,” stated Verma.

Verma stated CMS will offer customized technical assistance to clinicians who received a negative payment adjustment for the 2017 MIPS performance period.

“You can rely on this no-cost assistance to identify your needs, address potential barriers, and help you prepare to successfully participate in future years,” wrote Verma.

CMS will also continue to support solo practitioners and clinicians in small and rural practices with its Small, Underserved, and Rural Support initiative.

“Through this effort, we generate awareness of program requirements, assist clinicians with selecting appropriate measures, and help these clinicians improve with each performance year,” said Verma.

The national average score for MIPS eligible clinicians in the 2017 performance period was 74.01 points.

“On average, MIPS eligible clinicians in rural practices earned a mean score of 63.08 points, while clinicians in small practices received a mean score of 43.46 points,” Verma wrote.

“While we understand that challenges remain for clinicians in small practices, these results suggest that these clinicians and those in rural practices can successfully participate in the program,” Verma added.

CMS stated it will continue to leverage the Patients Over Paperwork initiative to review MIPS requirements and reduce administrative burden on providers where possible.

“We’re still listening and looking for ways to improve the Quality Payment Program to help drive value, reduce burden, promote meaningful participation by clinicians, and improve outcomes for beneficiaries,” wrote Verma.

“We’ll continue to analyze the data from the 2017 performance year and share additional elements. We encourage clinicians, stakeholders, and others to send us their feedback to help identify areas of immediate need as well as shape the program for future performance years,” she concluded.

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