MIPS 2021: Proposed Rule Key Takeaways

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule for the 2021 performance year. To accommodate for the challenges posed by COVID-19, CMS is not proposing many significant changes to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for 2021. Here are the highlights of the proposed rule for next year. For information on the current performance year, see our MIPS 2020 page.

MIPS Value Pathways

Introduction of MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs), the new framework originally set to begin implementation in the 2021 performance year, will be postponed. CMS will continue to work on engaging stakeholders and developing the framework’s guiding principles.

APM Performance Pathway

CMS has proposed an APM Performance Pathway (APP), complementary to MVPs. This option would be available to MIPS APM participants only and would be composed of a fixed set of measures for each performance category. The APP performance measures would also satisfy reporting requirements for the Medicare Shared Savings Program quality scoring.

Performance Category Weights

In 2021, the proposed Quality performance category weight will be reduced from 45 percent to 40 percent. The Cost category weight will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.

MIPS Performance Category Weights

Performance Threshold

For the 2021 performance period, CMS proposes to increase the performance threshold (maximum number of points needed to avoid a negative payment adjustment) from 45 to 50 points. There is no change to the exceptional performance threshold (number of points needed for a positive payment adjustment) of 85 points.

MIPS Performance Thresholds

Performance Categories

Quality Category

CMS proposes to use performance period benchmarks, rather than historical, to score quality measures. Previously, the benchmarking baseline period was the 12-month calendar year two years prior to the MIPS performance year. CMS hopes to ensure accurate and reliable data due to possible gaps in baseline data due to COVID-19. Therefore, in 2021, the agency proposes to use benchmarks from the 2021 performance period instead of the 2019 calendar year.

CMS also proposes to end the CMS Web Interface as a quality reporting option for ACOs and registered groups, virtual groups, or other APM Entities beginning with the 2021 performance period.

Improvement Activities Category

Minimal updates would be made to the Improvement Activities inventory. A process would also be established for agency-nominated improvement activities.

In 2021, there are no proposed changes to the requirement that at least 50% of the clinicians in the group or virtual group must perform the same activity during any continuous 90-day period in the performance year.

Cost Category

CMS proposes to update existing measure specifications to include telehealth services that are directly applicable to existing episode-based cost measures and the TPCC measure.

COVID-19 Flexibility Scoring Proposals

For the 2020 performance period only, the maximum number of bonus points available for the complex patient bonus would be 10, to account for the additional complexity of treating patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

You can view the full 2021 QPP Proposed Rule fact sheet here.

MIPS and SurveyVitals

SurveyVitals can help you satisfy certain MIPS requirements. Learn more on our MIPS page, sign up for a demo, or chat with us using the blue chat icon below.

August 6th, 2020 Categories: featured, MIPS Information

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COVID-19 and Patient Anxiety: Top 5 Concerns

It’s not uncommon for patients visiting the doctor to experience anxiety related to their symptoms, diagnosis, or treatment. The spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has introduced a new type of anxiety for many patients: the fear of exposure to the virus. Many Americans are even avoiding medical care due to fear of contracting the virus in a healthcare setting.

Using SurveyVitals’ comment sentiment analysis and keyword search, we reviewed patient comments specific to COVID-19 procedures in office-based practices. We identified the top five patient concerns related to fear of clinical contamination. Taking steps to address these concerns may increase your patients’ comfort level with your care.

Top 5 Patient Concerns

#1: Visitor Screening

Screening patients and visitors prior to entry may look different from one practice to the next. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published recommendations for screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms and risk potential.

This screening at the building entrance gives peace of mind for patients who worry they will come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. It is important to have a triaging process in place so patients can feel at ease in your facility.

#2: Shared Items

Patients are particularly apprehensive about handling shared items such as pens, clipboards, or tablets. Whenever possible, offer the option for patients to fill out paperwork online prior to their visit.

For patients who do need to fill out forms onsite, disinfect pens and clipboards after each use. Consider having a clearly-labeled ‘clean’ set of pens and clipboards for patients to use.

In the waiting room, remove magazines and toys. If wifi is available, post the login information so patients can use their phones while they wait.

#3: Waiting Room Distancing

Many patients express discomfort with their proximity to other people in the waiting room. The CDC guidelines for clinic COVID-19 preparedness specify that waiting rooms should be set up to allow for six feet of distance between patients. Use signs to designate seating as off-limits, or remove chairs from the waiting room to provide adequate social distancing.

For check-in and check-out, place markers on the floor for patients to stand on to maintain six feet of distance.

If social distancing is not feasible in your waiting room, consider having patients wait in their cars or in a designated outdoor waiting area. If possible, you may also set up partitions inside.

#4: Face Masks

The CDC has published recommendations regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) for clinicians and symptomatic patients. However, required use of masks by all staff (both clinical and office) as well as patients and visitors is important in reducing patient anxiety about COVID-19 exposure.

If masks are required at your facility, make the policy known when scheduling the appointment and again with any reminders sent to the patient.

Sometimes patients can have difficulty with understanding their provider or another staff member due to mask use. Before removing your mask, view this article on communicating effectively while following COVID-19 prevention procedures.

#5: Offering Supplies

It’s crucial to offer hand sanitizer and tissues, and to ensure patients can easily access trash cans and soap at sinks. Patients without access to these supplies are likely to experience anxiety about contamination, especially if they have had to handle shared items such as pens, or if they’ve had to touch door handles or equipment.

SurveyVitals Study of Patient Views on COVID-19

Since March 2020, SurveyVitals has surveyed over 100,000 patients to capture public sentiment regarding COVID-19. View the ongoing study here and sign up for a demo today to learn how you can take part while collecting valuable feedback about the patient experience in your organization.

July 23rd, 2020 Categories: Best Practices, COVID-19, featured, Outpatient Practice

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SurveyVitals Releases National COVID-19 ‘Patient Views’ Report

25% increase in those who self-report to be quarantining due to the virus

BOISE, ID – SurveyVitals, Inc., the nation’s leading digital patient experience survey provider, today released its findings of an ongoing nationwide study about how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting Americans’ lives. SurveyVitals collected and analyzed over 16,000 initial responses from patients across 1,800 healthcare practice locations in the U.S. to learn more about trending concerns related to COVID-19.

“We deployed this question set in partnership with our healthcare clients on the front lines to help educate the public about CDC recommendations while also capturing important feedback to make national benchmark data available,” said Blake Vosburgh, President of SurveyVitals. “Understanding public sentiment on COVID-19 is critical to help identify potential gaps in education and inform future outreach as we face this unprecedented global health crisis.”

A six-question addendum set about the coronavirus was provided to patients at the conclusion of a regularly administered SurveyVitals patient experience survey. Patient responses were captured using a three-pronged contact methodology: text message, email and interactive voice response call. Data was processed using SurveyVitals’ proprietary reporting platform with text comments undergoing sentiment and topical analysis.

Key Takeaways from SurveyVitals’ COVID-19 ‘Patient Views’ Report
  • As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. rises, the number of people who report quarantining is increasing. Over the course of the study, there has been a 25% increase in the number of people indicating they are quarantining due to the virus.
  • The Silent Generation, those most at risk according to the CDC for severe complications due to COVID-19, report the highest levels of concern (60% strongly agree that the coronavirus is concerning), while Generation Z is seemingly the least concerned (40% strongly agree).
  • In open-text comments about the impact of the coronavirus, 19% of respondents mention or express concern about economic impact, and 12% address the difficulties of social isolation and the effects it could have on mental health.
  • There are noticeable differences between genders in response to the coronavirus. Women are more likely to share their thoughts (6%^), are more concerned about the virus (5%^), perceive a larger impact to their daily lives (2%^), and are quarantining more (13%^) than men.

The full aggregated report can be accessed here, with featured visualizations updating in real-time. SurveyVitals will amend key report findings as additional responses are collected.

About SurveyVitals

For over 15 years, SurveyVitals’ mission has been to partner with healthcare organizations and providers to understand and improve the patient experience using innovative technology. In-depth, intuitive reporting tools provide actionable insights in real-time to support data-driven decision making. SurveyVitals offers comprehensive solutions, including a unique blend of digital patient surveys, CMS-approved CAHPS administration, and online reputation tools to help organizations of all sizes and specialties meet their goals. Join the over 16,000 clinicians who are already experiencing the SurveyVitals difference. To learn more visit www.SurveyVitals.com.

Contact

To learn more about SurveyVitals or request a demo, please click here or contact Devon Smith, Director of Strategic Programs (devon@surveyvitals.com).

For media inquiries, please contact Kyra Maples, Chief Operating Officer. (kyra@surveyvitals.com)

April 8th, 2020 Categories: COVID-19, featured, Press Release

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