CMS offers quality reporting relief as providers battle COVID-19

It's granting exceptions and extensions from reporting requirements for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare programs such as MIPS and Shared Savings Program ACOs.
By Mike Miliard
12:57 PM

As the coronavirus crisis deepens, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is extending relief for healthcare providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs, including the 1.2 million clinicians in the Quality Payment Program.

WHY IT MATTERS

Specifically, CMS said it will grant exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure-reporting and data-submission for those programs.

The agency is also implementing additional extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy exceptions and extensions for upcoming measure-reporting and data-submission deadlines for the following programs:

  • Merit-based Incentive Payment System
  • Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations
  • Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting Program
  • CrownWeb National ESRD Patient Registry and Quality Measure Reporting System
  • End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Quality Incentive Program
  • Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program
  • Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program
  • Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting Program
  • Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program
  • Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Reporting Program
  • PPS-Exempt Cancer Hospital Quality Reporting Program
  • Promoting Interoperability Program for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals
  • Home Health Quality Reporting Program
  • Hospice Quality Reporting Program
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Quality Reporting Program
  • Long Term Care Hospital Quality Reporting Program
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program
  • Skilled Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing Program

Details about 2019 and 2020 data submission for each of those can be found here.

CMS officials noted that it "recognizes that quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance on measures such as cost, readmissions and patient experience during this time of emergency and seeks to hold organizations harmless for not submitting data during this period."

THE LARGER TREND

The American Medical Association immediately applauded the move.

"Physicians on the front line of this pandemic are grateful that CMS has waived Medicare reporting requirements, allowing clinicians to focus on patients," said AMA president Dr. Patrice A. Harris. "In the best of times, physician practices struggle to meet all the bureaucratic demands in the Medicare program. These are not the best of times."

She added: "CMS' decision to offer relief from the reporting demands in the Quality Payment Program will be felt immediately. Doctors don’t have much time to breathe a sigh of relief, but if they did, they would take a moment to thank CMS for this wise decision."

ON THE RECORD

"In granting these exceptions and extensions, CMS is supporting clinicians fighting Coronavirus on the front lines," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement. "The Trump Administration is cutting bureaucratic red tape so the healthcare delivery system can direct its time and resources toward caring for patients."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

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