- Reducing the Merit-based Incentive Payment System reporting period to 90 consecutive days instead of one year would "reduce administrative burden and ensure physicians have sufficient time to report after receiving performance feedback from CMS," the American Medical Association argues in a letter sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
- The request was made after a "lack of timely and direct notification" from CMS on whether doctors are eligible for MIPS and a "severe delay" in updating the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website.
- Physicians were not informed of their MIPS eligibility until early April despite being responsible for tracking and collecting data as of Jan. 1.
AMA's letter is the latest in a string of MIPS critiques from industry associations this year, the first in which reporting data will be used to determine payments. AMA is largely concerned with the burden of recordkeeping and data submission for physicians who did not discover their MIPS eligibility until more than three months into the year, and the association says shortening the reporting period to 90 days would allow clinicians to put "patients over paperwork."
The letter cites a 2016 Health Affairs study that found physician practices in four common specialties spend an average of 785 hours per physician and more than $15.4 billion on quality measure reporting programs each year, with the majority of that time being spent “entering information into the medical record only for the purpose of reporting for quality measures from external entities.”
Last week, the American College of Physicians found many of those quality measures enforced by MIPS and QPP to be "not valid," directly impacting patient care and costing practices more money. Practices spend about $40,000 a year per physician to report on performance, according to ACP. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has gone even further, and has pushed for complete MIPS repeal and instead suggests a new program that withholds a portion of payments to create a rewards pool.
CMS is not turning a blind eye to these critiques. Earlier this year, the agency invited physicians to participate in a yearlong study to assess the burden of reporting under MIPS, though some experts seemed skeptical of the idea that physicians, already overburdened with reporting requirements, would want to participate.
It was reported last month that CMS is looking to overhaul MACRA, which created MIPS, remove reporting barriers for quality measures and launch more alternative payment models this year. Cutting regulatory burdens and offering providers more options are some of the Trump administration's stated healthcare goals.