CMS Releases CY 2018 Updates to Quality Payment Program

CMS Releases CY 2018 Updates to Quality Payment Program

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the calendar year (CY) 2018 updates to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) via a final rule with comment period.

Established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), the QPP has the goal to incentivize physicians and other eligible clinicians by rewarding value and outcomes through either the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

Some of the provisions contained in the final rule include:

  • Weighting the MIPS cost performance category to 10 percent of total MIPS final score, and the Quality performance category to 50 percent;
  • Raising the MIPS performance threshold to 15 points in Year 2 (from 3 points in the transition year);
  • Awarding up to 5 bonus points on MIPS final score for treatment of complex patients;
  • Adding 5 bonus points to the MIPS final scores of small practices;
  • Adding Virtual Groups as a participation option for MIPS;
  • Issuing an interim final rule with comment period for extreme and uncontrollable circumstances where clinicians can be automatically exempt from these categories in the transition year without submitting a hardship exception application if they have been affected by the hurricanes that occurred during the 2017 MIPS performance period;
  • Providing more detail on how eligible clinicians participating in selected APMs (known as MIPS APMs) will be assessed under the APM scoring standard; and
  • Creating additional flexibilities to allow clinicians to be successful under the All Payer Combination Option, which will be available beginning in performance year 2019.

The final rule will be published in the November 16, 2017 Federal Register, with comments due by January 1, 2018.

Additional information is available in a fact sheet and an Executive Summary document. In addition, CMS will conduct an overview webinar on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. To participate in this webinar, registration is required.

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