CMS Announces Plans for the Quality Payment Program in 2017: We Will Get to Pick Our Pace

    By: Douglass S. Hale, M.D. on Sep 09, 2016

    Last night CMS released a long awaited announcement concerning MACRA reporting requirements beginning in January of 2017. Fearing inadequate time to respond to the final CMS document due out in October or November of this year, medical societies including AUGS petitioned CMS to delay the new reporting requirements until at least July 2017. Although this was not done, CMS has provided another and perhaps better answer to this problem. Under MACRA, recall that physicians and physician groups were going to be required to report to CMS using either MIPS (Merit Incentive Payment System) or APMs (Alternative Payment Models) in January 2017. This began the penalty phase of reimbursement where for the first time, providers were at risk of losing money if they did not meet certain benchmarks.

    Rather than delay the start of the MIPS or APM reporting, the Acting Administrator of CMS, Andrew Slavitt, announced in his blog, that the final MACRA regulations will ensure providers do not receive a negative adjustment for payment in year 2019 (reporting year 2017) if they choose 1 of three options under MIPS or alternatively choose the Alternative Payment Model option. In general, as FPMRS specialists, we are not yet ready to participate in Alternative Payment Models, we will all need to focus on 1 of the three options under the MIPS. These include:

    1. Test the Quality Payment Program. This will be the simplest way to avoid a negative payment adjustment. Under this option, you will be required to provide some approved data (AUGS will help you here) to ensure your system is working and that you will be prepared to participate more fully in 2018. You would not be eligible for any bonus under this option.

    2. Participate for part of the calendar year. Under this option, you will need to submit data for a reduced number of days but the level of participation would be higher. It would require you to submit quality measures, data on how your practice uses technology, and also data on quality improvement activities you or your practice are undertaking. With this option, not only would you avoid any penalty, you could qualify for a small bonus.

    3. Participate for a full calendar year. With this option, you would submit a full year’s worth of data on quality measures, practice use of technology, and quality improvement activities. This would be your choice if you are able to quickly implement the new reporting requirements. This more involved and lengthy reporting would possibly allow for a modest bonus.

    Most societies applaud CMS for these efforts and making it more reasonable for providers to meet the new reporting requirements. These options allow for 3 clearly different and obtainable paths for providers as we enter a new era in payment reform. Anticipating these requirements, AUGS will launch AQUIRE, the AUGS Urogynecology Quality Registry, at PFD Week 2016 in Denver. Come to the Presidential State of the Society Address on Thursday morning at 9:00 am MT to learn more about this new registry which will be a new member benefit for everyone. If you want more in depth education on the new CMS announcement plan to attend the Quality Workshop during PFD Week on Wednesday at 8:00 am MT.

    You may read Andrew Slavitt’s blog with the full CMS announcement at

    Look forward to seeing you in Denver.


    Released: September 9, 2016, 10:02 am | Updated: September 9, 2016, 10:08 am
    Keywords: Announcements

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