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CMS

Physician Compare Preview Period open until Aug. 20

The Physician Compare 60-day Preview Period is officially open as of June 22. You can now preview your 2018 Quality Payment Program performance information before it will appear on Physician Compare profile pages and in the Downloadable Database. You can access the secured Preview through the Quality Payment Program website. Access the resource below on how to preview your data: · Physician Compare Preview Period User Guide For additional assistance with accessing the Quality Payment Program website, or obtaining your EIDM user role, contact the Quality Payment Program service center at QPP@cms.hhs.gov. To learn more about the 2018 Quality Payment Program performance information that is available for preview as well as the 2017 clinician utilization data that will be added to the Downloadable Database, download these documents from the Physician Compare Initiative page: · Clinician Performance… . . . read more.

EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the… . . . read more.

CMS

Guidance on allowance of telehealth encounters in eCQMs now available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted guidance on the allowance of telehealth encounters for the Eligible Professional and Eligible Clinician electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) used in CMS quality reporting programs for the 2020 and 2021 performance periods. Guidance provided applies to eCQMs used in each of the following programs: Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs) APM: Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) APM: Primary Care First (PCF) Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program for Eligible Professionals Measures are not eligible for 2021 reporting unless and until they are proposed and finalized through notice-and-comment rulemaking for each applicable program. Where to find the guidance on allowance of telehealth encounters The guidance is available on the eCQI Resource Center in… . . . read more.

Model COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan

Regulators have made it clear that workplaces must implement written plans to control COVID-19 exposure risks at the site. Here’s a Model Plan template your medical office can adapt that provides for the necessary protections.

COMPLIANCE

How to create a COVID-19 exposure control plan

For as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, businesses—both essential and nonessential—won’t be allowed to re-open and remain open unless they implement a plan to control workplace infection risks. While infection control is nothing new for medical offices, the challenges posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented and unique and you probably won’t find any great templates in your current policy folders and binders. As a result, you’ll need to build your plan from the ground up. Here’s a step-by-step strategy and Model COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan containing the necessary elements that you can use to accomplish that objective. The Exposure Control Plan & Why You Need It An exposure control plan is a set of measures to protect workers, patients, contractors, visitors and other people at your workplace against exposure to… . . . read more.

REOPENING THE OFFICE

Doctors & nurses eager to get back to work despite COVID-19 anxieties

Layoffs and furloughs are a new thing for many medical professionals who’ve come to expect stability in their employment. So, it’s not surprising that a new survey suggests that medical professionals are eager to end lockdowns and get back to work; but like workers in so many other industries, the prospect of going back to work while COVID-19 remains at large is tinged with concern. The CHG Healthcare Survey The survey of 1,285 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, by healthcare staffing agency CHG Healthcare, found that anxieties are up, even while workloads are down. Among respondents, 59% reported that they’ve treated patients who were either symptomatic but not tested or formally diagnosed as having COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms who was not tested. When asked how their current anxiety levels… . . . read more.

QUALITY PAYMENT PROGRAM

2019 Performance Period Suppressed MIPS Quality Measures

In the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule (83 FR 59847), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) established a policy that provides for the suppression of measures in certain circumstances. Starting with the 2019 performance period, for measures significantly impacted by clinical guideline changes or other changes where the CMS believes that adherence to guidelines in the existing measures could result in patient harm or otherwise cause misleading results as to what is measured as good quality of care, we will reduce the denominator of available measure achievement points for the quality performance category by 10 points for each impacted measure that is submitted by MIPS eligible clinicians and groups. Such policy will “hold harmless” any clinician or group submitting data on a suppressed measure. The measures identified… . . . read more.

Focus On

Nearly 3 in 4 Physicians Say They Can’t Provide Easy & Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Development of new lab tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 coronavirus has been faster and more prolific than anybody could dare expect for a pathogen that was unknown just a few months ago. But it still may not be enough to satisfy the urgent demand for COVID-19 testing—at least not yet. That’s the depressing conclusion of a new survey from Harvard Medical School, the Rand Corporation and Doximity, a professional medical network of which 70% of US physicians are members Quick and Easy Testing Remains Elusive Conducted between March 21-24, the survey “Physicians Views on the Coronavirus Pandemic Response,” included 2,600 physicians. Half of the respondents said they’ve treated at least one patient with potential COVID-19 symptoms. When asked whether they were “currently able to test their… . . . read more.

NEW TRIALS ANNOUNCED

Physicians can report COVID-19 clinical trial data through QPP

Improved availability of data key to driving improvement in patient care and development of innovative practices The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP), such as physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others, to contribute to scientific research and evidence to fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Clinicians may now earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a performance-based track of QPP that incentivizes quality and value, for participation in a clinical trial and reporting clinical information by attesting to the new COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity. This action will provide vital data to help drive improvement in patient care and develop innovative best practices to manage the spread of COVID-19 within communities. “The best scientific and… . . . read more.

CORONAVIRUS

AMA puts out telemedicine guide

The American Medical Association (AMA) has compiled a guide to help physicians get telemedicine up and running so they can safely care for patients. The telemedicine quick guide outlines the first steps to get started and lays out key considerations to implementing telemedicine and explains policy, coding and payment. Even if your practice didn’t use telemedicine before, it may be an option now. Federal government agencies temporarily relaxed certain federal privacy regulations during the COVID-19 crisis and expanded payment policies. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is letting physicians provide beneficiaries a wider range of health care services without having to visit a health care facility. This CMS fact sheet explains more. Also, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General is waiving Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements for COVID-19 treatment delivered via telehealth from a doctor’s office or hospital emergency department. Learn more with… . . . read more.


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