Action: Jan. 17, 2017

TMA Action Jan. 17, 2017   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

No PQRS, VM Penalties for Physicians Affected by ICD-10 Update
MACRA: Review Your Options for Medicare's New Quality Payment Program
PQRS: Report 2016 Data by Deadlines to Avoid 2018 Penalties
Meaningful Use Deadlines Approaching
Act Now to Save 20 Percent on CME in January; Sale Closes in Two Weeks
Calling All Texas Internists: Mentor a Med Student in 2017

Save the Dates for First Tuesdays at the Capitol in 2017
Book Your Luxury Hotel Room for TexMed 2017
Help Keep Kids Safe: Host a Helmet Giveaway
Physician Stress, Burnout Topics of Physician Health and Wellness Conference
Help Promote Cervical Health Awareness Month
This Month in Texas Medicine

No PQRS, VM Penalties for Physicians Affected by ICD-10 Update

We have some good news to report on the 2016 fourth-quarter ICD-10 code updates, which had the potential to negatively affect some physicians who participate in quality reporting for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM) programs. It turns out CMS will not apply payment penalties to physicians and groups who fail to meet reporting requirements solely as a result of those code updates.

Because the code updates, which occurred on Oct. 1, 2016, included a large number of new codes added or removed from the ICD-10 code set and because of its impact on quality measures, CMS has determined that it will not have the ability to process data reported on certain quality measures for the fourth quarter of 2016. That means physicians and groups will not incur payment penalties or "negative payment adjustments" to Medicare Part B payments in 2018, and for a few in 2017, under the PQRS and VM programs. 

CMS still expects physicians and groups to report quality data for the 2016 PQRS program year, even if they believe they were affected by the ICD-10 code changes. For an in-depth description of the issue, refer to the ICD-10 Section on the CMS PQRS website, and read the ICD-10-CM FAQ.

Remember: You have from January to March 2017 to report quality measure data for the 2016 PQRS program year. The specific deadline is dependent upon the submission method you use to report data to CMS. For specific dates, visit TMA's Deadlines for Doctors

For guidance on quality reporting, visit the TMA PQRS and VM Resource Center. For ICD-10 help, visit the TMA ICD-10 Resource Center. For questions, contact the CMS QualityNet Help Desk, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm CT, by phone, (866) 288-8912, or by email.

MACRA: Review Your Options for Medicare's New Quality Payment Program

The first performance period for the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs) under the new Medicare Quality Payment Program began on Jan. 1. Review your participation options to avoid payment penalties and to potentially earn bonus payments in 2019.

For the first year of the new program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a "transition year" and offers a pick-your-pace approach to participation along with many flexibilities to allow you to build capabilities to report and gain experience with the new program. For details on participation options for the 2017 performance period and where to find help, read the TMA Five-Step Checklist for MACRA Readiness. Also, read "MACRA: Easing the Pain?" in the January issue of Texas Medicine.  

CMS has recently revised its search tools for each MIPS category and has added several resources to help you better understand the new payment paths. TMA encourages you to visit the new website to explore the MIPS measures and review key information, such as MIPS benchmarks and measure specifications on the education and tools webpage

Measure specifications provide critical details (numerator, denominator, documentation requirements, etc.) for each quality and advancing care information measure, and measure benchmarks determine how many points you may earn for each quality measure. TMA recommends you review this information to help you select the best measures for your practice and patient populations, ensure accurate reporting, optimize performance, and improve your overall MIPS score. 

Additionally, CMS is conducting a study to examine the burdens associated with quality performance data collection and submission processes. Physicians who take part in the study may receive full credit for the MIPS improvement activities category. To learn more about this option, refer to this CMS announcement, and submit your application to CMSCPIAStudy[at]Ketchum[dot]com by Jan. 31. 

For information on how to transition from the 2016 CMS quality programs to the new 2017 MIPS program, register for the Medicare Quality Programs: Transitioning from PQRS to MIPS call, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24 from 1–2:30 pm CT. Visit the TMA MACRA Resource Center to stay up to date on all things MACRA and the new Medicare Quality Payment Program.   

PQRS: Report 2016 Data by Deadlines to Avoid 2018 Penalties

If you plan to participate in Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM) programs for the 2016 performance period, now is the time to submit your quality measures data. Depending on the reporting mechanism used, deadlines vary from February through March 2017.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), all eligible professionals who get paid under the Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) must comply with quality reporting requirements annually. In 2018, Medicare payment under the MPFS will be based on 2016 quality and cost performance, assessed under the PQRS and VM programs. To fulfill the quality reporting requirement for both programs, you simply report data on quality measures to PQRS. Failure to report data will result in an automatic 2-percent pay cut under PQRS, plus another automatic 2-percent to 4-percent pay cut under the VM program. To see how much these penalties will affect your practice in 2018, visit the TMA PQRS and VM Resource Center to access the Medicare payment adjustment calculator. To avoid the penalties, choose a reporting mechanism that best fits your practice, and submit your 2016 data by the deadline. 

2016 PQRS Reporting Period Submission Deadlines   

Note: The PQRS, VM, and meaningful use programs are three separate programs. PQRS data submitted to fulfill the quality reporting requirements for PQRS and VM do not automatically satisfy the clinical quality measure component of the meaningful use program. To have your data count for all programs, you must follow a specific data submission process. For details, refer to this CMS guide, and visit the CMS website. Additionally, TMA no longer endorses any registry; all registries and QCDRs have their own deadline, which may be different than the ones listed above. For lists of CMS registries and QCDRs, view the 2016 PQRS Qualified Registries and 2016 PQRS Qualified Clinical Data Registries. Contact your registry or QCDR of choice to inquire about its data collection process and submission deadline. Read "No PQRS, VM Penalties for Physicians Affected by ICD-10 Update" for more information.

Changes to CMS Quality Programs

Calendar year 2016 is the last year you will have to report data on quality measures to Medicare's PQRS, VM, and meaningful use programs. Due to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), CMS has consolidated all three programs into one single program called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under the new Quality Payment Program. The first MIPS performance period started on Jan. 1, 2017, and will end Dec. 31, 2017. Submission deadlines for the 2017 MIPS performance period will be scheduled in the first quarter of 2018. Although many changes were made, you may report your data to MIPS in the same way you have reported data to PQRS. Read "MACRA: Review Your Options for Medicare's New Quality Payment Program" for more information. 

Where to Find Help

For PQRS questions about the upcoming deadlines, contact the CMS QualityNet Help Desk, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm CT, by phone, (866) 288-8912, or email at Qnetsupport[at]hcqis[dot]org. For guidance on quality reporting, visit the TMA PQRS and VM Resource Center. For no-cost technical assistant and education on PQRS and VM program, create a free account and join the TMF Value-Based Improvement and Outcomes Network

TMAIT Action Ad 6.15    

Meaningful Use Deadlines Approaching

If you're participating in the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, pay attention to these upcoming attestation deadlines.  

For detailed instructions based on what program year you're in, click here.

Many participants will be attesting on the day of the deadline. TMA encourages you to attest sooner, rather than later, to avoid any problems. CMS will not make exceptions for participants who miss the deadline. 

CMS has released the 2016 attestation worksheet, which allows you to log the meaningful use measures to use as a reference when attesting to meaningful use.   

If you have questions about the meaningful use program, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department by email, or call (800) 880-5720.

Act Now to Save 20 Percent on CME in January; Sale Closes in Two Weeks

TMA's largest, once-a-year sale on continuing medical education (CME) is back. You still have two weeks to take advantage of a 20-percent discount on all CME courses (excluding live programming). This means an additional 20 percent off the already discounted member pricing on CME courses.  

The 20-percent discount applies to TMA's newest programming, including Nonphysician Practitioners: Hiring, Billing, and Delegation of Duties for an NPP (released Jan. 1) and What's My Practice Worth? A Comprehensive Guide to Practice Valuations and Sales (released Dec. 16). 

Select from more than 100 on-sale print publications, on-demand webinars, and podcasts. Visit the TMA Education Center and enter coupon code NEWYEAR20 at checkout to start saving. 

Calling All Texas Internists: Mentor a Med Student in 2017

Regardless of what first motivated you to become a doctor — a family legacy, an aptitude for biology, or the desire to help those in need — chances are the biggest influence on how you practice medicine was your physician mentor.

TMA is calling on internists to pay it forward. For just a few weeks this summer you can follow in the footsteps of those who influenced you by volunteering to serve as a mentor to a Texas medical student by participating in the 2017 General Internal Medicine Statewide Preceptorship Program (GIMSPP). 

Hundreds of eager students from across the state have already signed up to be matched with a preceptor in primary care. You can support these budding physicians by submitting your availability form today.

Preceptors spend two weeks, three weeks, or four weeks from May to August providing personal instruction and supervision to medical students. Students meet with their preceptor daily to follow the rounds and interact with patients. This hands-on guidance gives medical students an early, clinical leg up before the start of residency and in many cases commits them to working in primary care. 

Selected preceptors receive a GIMSPP guide and will be notified of student matches in March. By making mentorship a priority and signing up to participate in GIMSPP, you're supporting the next generation of young Texas physicians.

    Action TMLT Ad 10.15

Save the Dates for First Tuesdays at the Capitol in 2017

Your patients and your profession need you to be a lobbyist for a day. Mark your calendar now to join the Party of Medicine in Austin for First Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 85th Texas Legislature on Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, and/or May 2, 2017. The March 7 event is designated the official TMA Alliance First Tuesday, as well as the young and newly licensed physician event. The April 4 event is dedicated to medical students and residents. Registration is now open.

TMA's comprehensive 2017 legislative agenda advocates what's best for patients and their physicians, from preserving physicians' right to bill for services to improving Medicaid payment rates and reducing red tape and hassles.

Hotel rooms in Austin are in high demand during legislative sessions. As of Jan. 9, sleeping rooms at TMA's special room rate are sold out for the February and April events. Reserve your room now for the Monday before the March or May events at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel. Call (800) 445-8667 and mention you're attending TMA's First Tuesdays at the Capitol event for the special room rate of $219 for March and $209 for May. 

Or, reserve a hotel room online, but make sure to enter the correct group code for your stay:

Monday's Date       Group Code       Cut-Off Date
Feb. 6               (currently sold out - see alternative hotels)
March 6       TAT       Feb. 13
April 3               (currently sold out - see alternative hotels)
May 1       TUE       April 10 

For more information or to register, visit the TMA website, or call (800) 880-1300, ext. 1363.

Book Your Luxury Hotel Room for TexMed 2017

In late December, and with much fanfare, Houston's newest destination hotel, the Marriott Marquis, officially opened — complete with a massive, Texas-shaped lazy river pool. The most recent addition to the Houston skyline, the Marriott Marquis will soon play host to TexMed 2017 May 5–6. 

TMA invites members and practice staff to "Renew Your Passion" for medicine this spring, and register for TexMed free of charge. You can take advantage of steeply discounted room rates at the Marriott Marquis. The hotel features six of Houston's most highly anticipated new restaurants, an expansive 40,000-square-foot ballroom, and 1,000 luxury guest suites.

Among the many TexMed events offered, including one-on-one consultations and 80 hours of continuing medical education, the conference will also feature two distinguished keynote speakers. On Friday, Dr. Kevin Pho, founder of the wildly popular blog, will illustrate how social media can make a profound difference in health care. On Saturday, Dr. Pete Blair, executive director of ALERRT, will address active shooter events and a comprehensive response from police, fire, and emergency medical services teams to establish preparedness on local, regional, and state levels. 

Additionally, TMA has opened a call for poster abstracts. Three submission categories are available, including Quality Research, Quality Improvements and Clinical — with a focus this year on Disaster Medicine & Emergency Preparedness — and Enhanced Perioperative Recovery. Winning poster submissions will receive a cash prize. 

For more information on the conference, visit the TMA website.  

Help Keep Kids Safe: Host a Helmet Giveaway

The spring months are a great time to host a TMA Hard Hats for Little Heads bicycle helmet giveaway to encourage kids to get moving — and do it safely. Three great months for events are March, which is Brain Injury Awareness Month; April, which is Texas Child Safety Month; and May, Bike Month. 

TMA has everything you need for a local giveaway event, from helmets to publicity and educational materials to media support. When you purchase helmets, TMA gives you free helmets to increase your giving power. For example, if you buy 50 helmets, we give you 50 more at no cost. And helmets purchased through TMA cost only $7.60 per helmet, including shipping. 

Family physicians and pediatricians can get a special benefit. If you're a member of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) or the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS), the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can receive up to 50 helmets at no cost to you. TAFP and TPS cover the cost of up to 25 helmets for their members, and TMA matches that. Plus, you could buy more helmets at TMA's low price.

TMA encourages physicians, county medical societies, medical students, and TMA Alliance members to host giveaways during March, April, and May. During these key months, TMA will boost your publicity and draw attention to helmet safety by sending a statewide media advisory that lists events across the state, including your event. 

Check out these ideas for events, and start planning your event now. To find out how you can sponsor a helmet giveaway, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA outreach coordinator, at (512) 370-1470. 

More than 260,000 little Texans have received a free helmet from TMA since the Hard Hats program began in 1994.

The TMA Foundation funds TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads program in 2017 with generous gifts from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, an anonymous physician and spouse, Make-A-Difference donors, the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, individual physicians and their families, and other friends of medicine.

PC Action Ad Sept 13

Physician Stress, Burnout Topics of Physician Health and Wellness Conference

Burnout: Recognition and Prevention will be the theme of the Physician Health and Wellness Training Session and 24th Annual Retreat held Feb. 24–25 at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown. Presented by the TMA Committee on Physician Health and Wellness (PHW), the conference has been accredited for a maximum of 10.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™, 8.25 of which are designated as ethics and/or professional responsibility education.

Conference presentations will include: 

  • Burnout and Texas Medical Board Complaints;
  • Physician Stress and Burnout;
  • How to Engage Your Audience in an Effective Presentation;
  • Physician Suicide: The Ultimate Burnout;
  • Medical Errors: Burnout Fans the Flames;
  • Building and Nurturing Healthy Relationships;
  • Preventing and Healing Burnout;
  • Mindfulness and the Prevention of Burnout;
  • Healthy Nights: Healthy Days;
  • Easy Financial Strategies to Reduce Burnout;
  • In and Out: Preventive Lifestyles; and
  • Helpful, Hopeful Hobbies.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout; demonstrate enhanced communication when giving presentations; integrate strategies into their professional and personal lives to prevent and reverse burnout; and enhance ethics and improve patient safety.

Preregistration is strongly recommended. To request a brochure or for additional information, contact Linda Kuhn at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1342, or (512) 370-1342, or by email.

Help Promote Cervical Health Awareness Month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and you can help the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) promote healthy habits, including regular screenings and vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), among your patients. To start, get up to speed on the new recommendations for the use of the HPV vaccine among certain age groups.

To educate your patients about cervical health and to show the devastating impact HPV can have, DSHS has purchased the public screening rights to the movie Someone You Love. If you are interested in having a public showing, email DSHS Coalitions and Partnerships Coordinator Linc Allen. 

In addition, the American Cancer Society and the National HPV Roundtable are helping promote cervical health through use of the social media hashtag #2shots2preventCancer. You can also direct patients to the "HPV Survivors" video, which features those directly affected by HPV. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has helpful cervical health resources, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services toolkit includes sample social media posts you can use. 

This Month in Texas Medicine

The January issue of Texas Medicine features a preview of the 2017 Texas legislative session, which delves into TMA’s plan to build on significant successes medicine achieved over the past two sessions, including reforming the state’s Medicaid program and expanding graduate medical education opportunities. In the issue, you’ll also find coverage of TMA’s scope-of-practice court victory against the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, an explanation of the final rule to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, and what’s involved in achieving patient-centered medical home status.

Check out our digital edition

Texas Medicine RSS Feed

Don't want to wait for Texas Medicine to land in your mailbox? You can access it as an RSS feed, the same way you get the TMA Practice E-Tips RSS feed. 

E-Tips RSS Feed

TMA Practice E-Tips, a valuable source of hands-on, use-it-now advice on coding, billing, payment, HIPAA compliance, office policies and procedures, and practice marketing, is available as an RSS feed on the TMA website. Once there, you can download an RSS reader, such as Feedreader, Sharpreader, Sage, or NetNewsWire Lite. You also can subscribe to the RSS feeds for TMA news releases and for Blogged Arteries, the feed for Action.  


This Just In ...

Want the latest and hottest news from TMA in a hurry? Then log on to Blogged Arteries

Deadlines for Doctors

TMA's Deadlines for Doctors alerts you and your staff to upcoming state and federal compliance timelines and offers information on key health policy issues that impact your practice.

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)

Last Day to Apply for the Clinical Practice Improvement Activities and Measured Study (Voluntary)

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)

Last Day for Claims-Based Reporting

Last Day for Dual Participation in PQRS and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program

Last Day for Electronic Reporting Using an EHR via EHR Direct and EHR Data Submission Vendors

Last Day for Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) — QRDA Format

Last Day for Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) Web Interface

Last Day for QCDRs — XML File Format

Last Day for Qualified Registries

TMA Education Center

The TMA Education Center offers convenient, one-stop access to the continuing medical education Texas physicians need. TMA's practice management, cancer, and physician health courses are now easier than ever to find online.  

On-Demand Webinars

HIPAA Training for Staff and Compliance Officers

MACRA and Medicare: Get Clarity and Direction!

Conferences and Events

2017 TMA Winter Conference
Jan. 27–28, 2017
Hyatt Regency Austin

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Last Updated On

January 17, 2017