New and improved. You hear that term all the time. But new isn't always an improvement, and just because something's been improved doesn't mean it's new.
However, if you're a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)-eligible physician, a new reporting category can improve your chance of avoiding a payment penalty in 2019.
Now that's an improvement! An Improvement Activities category, to be exact.
So what is it?
Well, Improvement Activities is one of four performance categories within MIPS, a payment path under the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) that was created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).
Because the category is new it's generating a lot of questions.
Well, lucky for you the TMF Health Quality Institute and TMA have plenty of answers.
So let's begin.
First of all, you know what an Improvement Activity is, correct? It's basically any activity that improves clinical practice, such as annual registration in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, engaging patients and families to help improve the system of care, implementing fall screening and assessment programs, and improving practices that engage patients before they visit.
So now that we're on the same page, if you're MIPS eligible (you can find out here), you will need to attest to having completed as few as one improvement activity — and possibly up to four — for at least 90 days for the 2017 MACRA transition year. If you do not, you'll receive a 4-percent cut in Medicare payments in 2019. Ouch.
Your practice model, size, and location, as well as which MIPS participation option you've chosen, will determine whether you have to report just one activity or four.
If you're just doing the bare minimum, or test option, for 2017, you only have to report one activity that was completed for at least 90 days to avoid a penalty in 2019. If you're shooting for a bonus payment and reporting for 90 days or the full year, the requirement is up to four activities to get full credit for either option.
Visit CMS's QPP website to review the list of 92 improvement activities and find out how many activities your practice has to complete.
If this still doesn't make sense, you're not alone. You're also in luck because TMF's Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) is available for support. And — get this — just working with TMF's QIN-QIO actually counts for several activities under the Improvement Activities category. That's a win-win!
TMF has a whole bunch of QPP fact sheets to help you select the Improvement Activities that are right for your practice. You can find them here, along with other helpful resources.
You can also check out TMA’s MACRA Resource Center, which is just jam-packed with information.
Action, Aug. 1, 2017