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CMS Issues Quality Payment Program Year 2 Final Rule

The Quality Payment Program final rule will also include a comment period to allow CMS to continue gathering stakeholder feedback.

Quality Payment Program

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- CMS today issued the final rule with comment period for the Quality Payment Program (QPP), which includes policies to reduce administrative burden on providers and better support clinicians in small and rural practices in meeting program requirements.

Additionally, CMS is decreasing the number of clinicians required to participate in QPP.

“To further ease clinician burden, CMS is adding an option to help clinicians and small, rural practices join together and share the responsibility of participating in value-based payments,” stated CMS in a list serv.

Furthermore, CMS is adding a new hardship exception aimed at helping small practices and clinicians impacted by natural disasters—specifically, those in the line of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The exception focuses on assisting healthcare providers that may have been left without a usable, accessible EHR system as a result of these events.

According to a fact sheet about the QPP final rule, the rule seeks to ensure program measures and activities are meaningful, clinician burden is minimized, care coordination is improved, and clinicians can participate in advanced alternative payment models (APMs).

To assist clinicians in participating in advanced APMs, the final rule will allow clinicians to receive credit for payment bonuses through participation.

“In keeping with its theme of innovation in healthcare delivery, CMS intends to develop a demonstration project testing the effects of counting as credit participation prior to 2019 and through 2024 in Medicare Advantage plans that meet certain criteria,” clarified CMS.

According to the fact sheet, year two of QPP will maintain many of the flexibilities from the transition year to help clinicians prepare for year three. Specifically, CMS will continue to keep a slow pace for the program while preparing clinicians for full implementation in the third year of QPP, provide flexibility to reduce clinician burden, and offer new incentives for participation. 

Priorities for the second year of QPP also include improved care coordination, better aligned standards between Medicare and other payer advanced APMs, and reduced complexity.

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