Greetings Acumen blog readers. Hard to believe that March is coming to a close. In years past we would have just completed 48 games in 4 days, but instead we are facing a new Madness this March. I know that many of you have been remarkably busy battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Practices I have spoken with over the past week are struggling with the new norm with many closing their doors to face-to-face visits and now “seeing” patients virtually. Over the weekend CMS offered a glimmer of hope to lighten your load and I want to ensure you did not miss the news!
It is most unusual for CMS to issue a press release over the weekend, but these are indeed unusual times. In case you missed it, you can read the press release here. In the name of simplification and reducing administrative overhead, CMS has basically postponed or eliminated reporting requirements for virtually every quality program they oversee. Specifically, for those of you facing the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), they have pushed the reporting deadline back from March 31 to April 30, 2020. Perhaps even better, if you do not get your MIPS data to CMS by April 30, you will automatically meet the “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” aspect of the program. What does that mean? Basically, it means if you don’t report your 2019 results to CMS you will not face a penalty in 2021, but instead will receive the published fee schedule.
Of course, most of you have already done the heavy lifting in 2019, and I suspect many of you have already sent your 2019 data to CMS. But note that within the press release CMS states they are considering similar relief for 2020. The press release also provides quality reporting relief for the ESRD QIP program as well as for some of the reporting aspects delivered via CROWN Web. What about those of you participating in the CMMI ESCO program? No mention of quality reporting relief for ESCOs but stay tuned as things are changing quickly these days.
I wish I were gloating over my favorite college basketball team’s preparation for the Sweet Sixteen, but these are truly unusual times. The Acumen blog will keep you posted as news emerges. In the meantime, stay safe out there.
Terry Ketchersid, MD, MBA, practiced nephrology for 15 years before spending the past seven years at Acumen focused on the Health IT needs of nephrologists. He currently holds the position of Chief Medical Officer for the Integrated Care Group at Fresenius Medical Care North America where he leverages his passion for Health IT to problem solve the coordination of care for the complex patient population served by the enterprise.