How to Adjust your MIPS Workflow during COVID-19

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought new complexities to how clinicians treat and care for their patients. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is focused on providing flexibilities and reducing the burden on clinicians, including through exceptions and extensions to Medicare quality reporting programs, such as the Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Additionally, CMS is helping states increase hospital capacity, expand the healthcare workforce, eliminate paperwork requirements, and promote telehealth. To read the full announcement of these flexibilities, click here.

For solo and small practices continuing to serve your patients during the pandemic, here’s how you can play an important role in addressing this crisis.

  1. Transition to telehealth – As many states have implemented social distancing protocols, telehealth is becoming an essential tool in providing health care services to your patient population. CMS has authorized 80 additional services to be furnished to Medicare beneficiaries via telehealth, including emergency department services and home visits. If patients do not have the requisite technology for a Medicare telehealth visit, providers can arrange a Virtual Check-In or e-visit. For more information on telehealth options, see the Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet, as well as the telehealth guidance on the CMS Current Emergencies webpage.
  2. Focus on prevention and chronic disease management – As hospitals are being strained with an influx of COVID-19 patients, it’s more important than ever to focus on preventive services and chronic disease management to keep your patients healthy and help prevent potentially avoidable admissions or emergency department visits. By following up with your at-risk patients and those with chronic conditions, you can help reduce potential hospitalizations. For more information on chronic care management, see TMF’s Q&A on Chronic Care Management.
  3. Consider participation in a clinical trial – If applicable, consider reporting on the new COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity (IA_ERP_3), which requires clinicians to attest to participation in a COVID-19 clinical trial utilizing a drug or biological product to treat a patient with a COVID-19 infection, and report their findings through a clinical data repository or clinical data registry for the duration of the study. For more information, see the CMS Dear Clinician Letter.
  4. Stay up to date on changing information – In April, CMS updated previously posted guidance, including the Frequently Asked Questions to Assist Medicare Providers and fact sheets on Medicare Coverage and Payment Related to COVID-19. Providers can view telemedicine toolkits, as well as a CMS Dear Clinician Letter outlining expanded options for telehealth services and updates to the QPP. For a complete and updated list of CMS actions, and other information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

Please stay safe and remember to contact your Technical Assistance Contractor if you need additional assistance during this crisis. TA contractors  provide telehealth implementation guides and workflow tips, webinars, and personalized guidance on how to adjust your MIPS workflow because of COVID-19.

About Author

Healthcentric Advisors
As the New England Quality Payment Program Support Center, Healthcentric Advisors assists New England-based physician and other eligible clinical practices to prepare for and participate in the new Quality Payment Program (QPP), established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).