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Still Time to Protect Your Practice from a 4% Cut in Medicare Payments

February 1, 2017 01:16 PM

This year marks the beginning of a new physician reimbursement system that will impact many AUGS members.  I write to inform you about two AUGS initiatives aimed at providing our members the resources they need to meet the CMS reporting requirements for full compensation in 2019.   The AUGS Board has approved the addition of a new Practice Management Course to be held on March 25 in San Antonio, TX. This 1-day course will succinctly debrief members on their options for compliance in 2017 and the tools and resources immediately available through AUGS to meet current reporting goals.  I encourage you all to carve out the time and attend this Saturday course where you can also learn more about the AUGS’ Quality Improvement Registry (AQUIRE), a complementary member benefit.  Participation in AQUIRE is one way to meet the Merit Incentive-based Payment System (MIPS) requirement and avoid the penalties.  AUGS staff will be on-hand at the course to help attendees join AQUIRE.

Faculty of the new Practice Management Course will review the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new Quality Payment Program (QPP) referred to as “Go at Your Own Pace.”  Under this program, physicians have three options to avoid a 4% penalty in 2019 (which will be based upon reporting in 2017).  Depending on which option a physician chooses, they may also earn a small bonus payment.  Until FPMRS targeted Advanced Alternative Payment Models are available, AUGS members will need to focus on one of three “Go at Your Own Pace,” options under the Merit Incentive-based Payment System (MIPS). These include:

Option 1. Test the Quality Payment Program. This is the simplest way to avoid a negative payment adjustment. Under this option, practices will be required to report on at least one quality measure or one clinical performance improvement activity.  Attend the AUGS Practice Management Course to learn how to join the AUGS’ Quality Improvement Registry (AQUIRE) to meet this requirement and avoid the penalties.  

Option 2. Partial year and partial requirements reporting.  This option avoids the 4% penalties and may allow for a small bonus, depending on how many measures, quality improvement activities and electronic health record standards your practice can report.  Attend the AUGS Practice Management Course to learn details of the number and type of measures and activities, as well as the time frame for reporting through participation in AQUIRE.

Option 3. BONUS Money.  Participate for a full calendar year, report on 6 measures, 3 – 4 clinical performance improvement activities and electronic health record standards.  With this option, members must submit a full year’s worth of data on quality measures, practice use of technology, and quality improvement activities. Learn if this is still feasible, to what degree data can be entered retroactively and importantly how much bonus money is CMS offering?  

AUGS members can learn the answers to these questions at the March 25, 2017 Practice Management Course.

Besides making sure that your practice is well prepared to deal with the Medicare Quality Payment Program in 2017, the AUGS Practice Management Course will also feature information on Alternative Payment Models in development and how to plan for 2018!  Don’t miss the session on best practices regarding coding and billing for a busy practice. 

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