The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently assessed implementation of the Quality Payment Program and determined that “CMS has built a promising foundation for managing the initial transition."
One area of concern are back-end technology capabilities and OIG said CMS technical assistance programs “must quickly be ramped up to full-scale” to help ensure the success of providers.
- Effective IT systems will be crucial to early success in terms of data submission, calculation of Merit-based Payment System (MIPS) scores, and payment adjustments, the report states.
New payment models established by the MACRA are set to go into effect in a matter of days. CMS appears to be handling implementation well overall, but there are concerns about whether IT infrastructures can handle the demands of QPP, according to the OIG.
In terms of implementing QPP, an early focus for CMS has been on clinician acceptance and readiness to participate, according to the report. This has informed CMS’ approach when it comes to accommodating providers, developing IT systems to support and streamline participation, as well as crafting MIPS policies that are flexible and transparent.
Many have applauded CMS for its response to clinician concerns over MACRA implementation and the OIG report offers positive reviews of implementation. However, OIG also identified two vulnerabilities that could affect providers. So far, CMS has not ensured that providers have access to information and tools necessary for participation in QPP. Additionally, CMS has not finished building out and testing IT infrastructure for data submission, calculation of MIPS scores, and payment adjustments.
Flexibility offered through the “pick-your-pace” option introduced by CMS earlier this year should help to mitigate troubles associated with IT problems. Additionally, existing legacy IT systems can serve as a backup if efforts to build out new systems falter. Still, for QPP to move forward on schedule, it will require a robust IT infrastructure that holds up to extensive back-end testing.