- CMS announced a new funding opportunity for development, improvement and expansion of quality measures for the Quality Payment Program.
- Over three years, the agency will provide up to $30 million in funding and technical assistance to clinicians, patients and other stakeholders working on QPP measures, according to The CMS Blog.
- The cooperative agreements will focus on such topics as clinician engagement, efficient data collection to reduce clinician burden, consumer-informed decisions, critical measure gaps and quality measure alignment.
CMS is ramping up MACRA implementation and many clinicians are still trying to parse the alphabet soup of QPP, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and more. Currently, clinicians need to select and report on six metrics, including one outcome measure from three performance categories: quality, advancing care information and improvement activities. Beginning in 2019, a fourth category kicks in tying 30% of participants’ scores to costs.
There has been disagreement about which quality measures clinicians should use, and with over 300 options, the task can be daunting. CMS is hoping that more input from stakeholders will lead to better measures that meet program objectives while minimizing administrative workload.
Any new and revised quality measures will be aligned with CMS’ Quality Measure Development Plan, which creates a roadmap for filling clinician and specialty measure gaps to support the QPP, CMS says.
Key areas for measure development include clinical care, safety, care coordination, patient and caregiver experience, population health and prevention and affordable care. Among the gap areas CMS wants to close are orthopedic surgery, pathology, radiology, mental health and substance abuse conditions, oncology, palliative care and emergency medicine.
The overall goal is to improve patient outcomes and reduce burden by incorporating clinical and patient perspectives in the quality measures development process.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has also expressed frustration with MIPS, which is one of the payment tracks in MACRA. In a meeting last fall nearly the entire commission backed scrapping MIPS, which lets providers earn performance-based payment adjustments to Medicare payments.
MedPAC’s complaint with MIPS is that it focuses on whether providers order tests and follow clinical guidelines, rather than on patient care. They suggested replacing it with a new program that withholds a portion of payments and then returns them if certain quality or population-based health measures are met.