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CMS Releases Quality Payment Program Data Submission System

A new Quality Payment Program data submission system is now open on the program’s website for eligible clinicians to submit 2017 performance information.

Quality Payment Program

Source: Thinkstock

By Jacqueline LaPointe

- Eligible clinicians participating in MACRA’s Quality Payment Program can now start submitting their 2017 performance data on a new system on the program’s website, CMS recently announced in a press release.

Medicare clinicians must submit at least one quality measure or Improvement Activity to the Quality Payment Program for the 2017 performance period, which ended on Dec. 31, 2017, to avoid a negative payment adjustment in 2019. Clinicians have until Mar. 31, 2018 to submit performance data.

The new data submission system should be a convenient method for clinicians to upload and update Quality Payment Program information, CMS explained.

“The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) requires CMS to implement the Quality Payment Program, and we are committed to doing so in the least burdensome way possible,” stated Seema Verma, CMS Administrator. “The new data submission system makes it easier for clinicians to meet MACRA’s reporting requirements and spend more time treating patients instead of filing paperwork.”

The federal agency claimed that the Quality Payment Program data submission system is “an improvement from the former systems under the CMS legacy programs.”

Legacy programs, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, required Medicare providers to submit performance data to multiple websites.

With the new Quality Payment Program data submission system, eligible clinicians can log in and the system will connect each clinician to the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) associated with their National Provider Identifier (NPI). Clinicians will then have the option to report as an individual or as a group.

The data submission system will also provide real-time initial scoring for each of the four performance categories under MACRA’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) based on the performance data submitted. MIPS scores may change if clinicians submit additional data or report on quality measures that have yet to be benchmarked.

CMS noted that the system’s real-time MIPS scoring feature will not initially account for the clinician’s Alternative Payment Model (APM) status, Qualifying Advanced APM status, or any other special designations that may apply.

Eligible clinicians also have several other options for submitting Quality Payment Program performance data. The program accepts performance data from Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs), qualified registries, clinician attestation, or the CMS Web Interface.

Eligible clinicians can also call on their health IT vendors to submit data on their behalf from certified EHR technology.

Clinicians planning to use the CMS Web Interface should note that the submission period is different from that of clinicians using other data submission methods. CMS Web Interface users can start uploading data on Jan. 22, 2018 and the deadline to submit information is Mar. 16, 2018.

CMS will allow eligible clinicians to use multiple data submission methods to report Quality Payment Program performance. However, only one data submission method can be used for each MIPS performance category.

According to CMS, determining which data submission method to use will depend on the following factors:

• Whether the clinician belongs to a group

• Size of the group

• Type of health IT used

• Performance category on which the clinician reports

• Whether the clinician is participating in MIPS or the Advanced APM track

For example, CMS designed the Web Interface for groups of 25 or more eligible clinicians that do not plan to report as APM entities.

The federal agency advised eligible clinicians to log into the Quality Payment Program data submission system as early as possible to allow themselves to get comfortable with the new format and submission processes.

Logging into the system early can also help clinicians identify underperforming measures or potential data submission issues sooner.

“This will help to ensure that your data is complete and accurate in order to receive the best final score and payment adjustment,” the federal agency wrote.

Eligible clinicians will be able to upload and update 2017 performance anytime between Jan. 2 and Mar. 31, 2018. CMS plans to determine payment adjustments based on a clinician’s last submission or submission update.

To log into the Quality Payment Program data submission system, click here.

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