For what seems like an eternity, providers have been struggling with quality reporting requirements imposed by the MIPS program. Now, at long last, CMS seems to be taking steps to ease the MIPS burden via the magic of EHRs.
According to a piece in Fierce Healthcare, CMS administrator Seema Verma has a plan to shift MIPS reporting from a labor-intensive headache to an essentially hands-free process. In her vision, providers will use EHRs to report quality data and clinicians “don’t have to lift a finger,” Verma told the audience at the CMS Quality Conference held in late February.
Her plans rely on the transfer and sharing of data using FHIR standards, which should pave the way for stakeholders to submit data to a centralized data submission system. This dovetails nicely with a proposed rule from ONC which would also call for FHIR use by providers.
While providers might have fewer administrative hassles to deal with in the new MIPS reporting set-up, these changes shouldn’t be confused with reforms that let clinicians off the hook.
In fact, once brought into this central repository, provider data could be crunched together with other data related to claims, inspections or surveys, giving CMS a richer quality profile, Verma told attendees. “In an era of artificial intelligence, this might mean more easily identifying providers delivering high-quality care and those that need interventions,” she said.
Still, even if automating MIPS comes with additional scrutiny in other respects, providers have every reason to be excited about such changes. Right now, it’s worth noting MIPS requirements are just one of a host of administrative burdens that have providers totally slammed.
This conclusion is borne out by a recent survey released by the Medical Group Management Association late last year. The survey, which included responses from more than 400 group practices, found that practices were being crushed by administrative demands on their time, resources and staff and what’s more, that the problem was getting worse.
According to the MGMA, 86% of respondents reported that the overall regulatory burden on their medical practice had increased over the past 12 months.
Respondents noted that meeting MIPS requirements was a particularly challenging problem. Of the 81% of respondents that participated in the program, 87% reported that MIPS payment adjustments don’t cover the time and resources they spend participating in the program.
Not only that, MIPS isn’t doing much to help providers do a better job with patient care. Over three-fourths of respondents reported that CMS feedback on MIPS cost and quality measure data isn’t helping practices reduce costs or improve clinical outcomes.
In any event, medical groups won’t see the benefits of automating MIPS quality reporting anytime soon. In her remarks, Verma noted that it could take several years to implement EHR-based reporting.