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CMS Pre-releases eCQM Changes for the 2018 Reporting Period

CMS is allowing eligible professionals a preview of electronic clinical quality measure changes for 2018.

CMS MIPS

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- With MIPS taking full effect this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released information on upcoming adjustments to electronic clinical quality (eCQM) measure standards, terminology, and specifications for quality reporting and incentive programs in 2018 to allow for as much clarity as possible for eligible professionals looking to fulfill reporting requirements in the future.

CMS will publish these adjustments in the spring, but the agency chose to release the information early to give providers advanced notice of what to expect.

“This transparent pre-release of expected changes and requirements will help health information technology developers, eligible professionals, eligible clinicians, and eligible hospitals prepare for the 2018 reporting periods,” stated a post on the CMS eCQI Resource Center page.

The agency has also updated its eCQM specifications for eligible professionals for the 2017 reporting period to match up with the domains listed in the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, MIPS, and Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) tracks of the Quality Payment Program (QPP).

“In an effort to align the eCQMs used in CMS quality reporting programs with the goals of CMS and the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Quality Strategy (NQS), and recommendations from the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, each eCQM has been assessed against six domains based on the six priorities of the NQS,” stated the agency in a public statement.

The new table eliminates meaningful use domains and aligns the listed domains in MIPS and APM Incentive under the Quality Payment Program to avoid confusion among providers.

The table contains the following domains: 

  • Person and Caregiver-Centered Experience and Outcomes
  • Patient Safety
  • Communication and Care Coordination
  • Community/Population Health
  • Efficiency and Cost Reduction
  • Effective Clinical Care

Notifying eligible providers of the newly aligned domains and upcoming eCQM changes so far in advance should give these providers ample time to adjust to upcoming reporting requirements in 2018.

In addition to these updates, CMS is also giving vendors and stakeholders the chance to review and offer commentary on draft eCQM measure packages including logic and header adjustments for eCQMs eligible for CMS quality reporting and payment programs.

“Measures will not be eligible for 2018 reporting unless and until they are proposed and finalized through notice-and-comment rulemaking for each applicable program,” CMS stated via its listserv.

While MIPS is off to a somewhat rocky start with eligible clinicians adjusting to changes during the 2017 transition year, posting information on changes to standards, terminology, and specifications as soon as possible and inviting feedback from those impacted by the changes could allow for a smoother reporting period in 2018 and beyond. 

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