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CMS is Making Big Changes in 2018

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is back in the headlines and this time, it is for good reasons.  CMS announced on January 2, 2018 that doctors and other eligible clinicians participating in the Quality Payment Program can begin submitting their 2017 performance data using a new system on the Quality Payment Program website (qpp.cms.gov).

CMS unveiled its new portal for MACRA reporting where, if data is being submitted, providers are able to see their real-time scoring for all MIPS categories. This system is beneficial for those providers who do not have an EHR that automatically tabulates their scores and will benefit all providers by making reporting submissions a little easier. CMS has vastly improved the portal interface and user experience – you no longer have to report on multiple sites! This news should elate all providers participating in the Quality Payment Program as it means less paperwork and more time spent on patient care.” (www.omnimd.com)

The data submission system is an improvement from the former systems under the CMS legacy programs, which required clinicians to submit data on multiple websites. Now, eligible clinicians will use the new system to submit their 2017 performance data for the Quality Payment Program during the 2017 submission period which runs from January 2, 2018 to March 31, 2018, except for groups using the CMS Web Interface whose submission period is January 22, 2018 to March 16, 2018.

CMS is focusing on making life easier for everyone, and to save time.  It will be interesting to see how user friendly these updates really are.  Some dates to keep an eye on are:

  • QPP Submission Deadline: March 31, 2018
  • Groups using CMS Web Interface Deadline: March 16, 2018

A few other clarifications to point out is that CMS also made it known that they will adapt the same texting policy as the Joint Commission. CMS also maintains the Conditions of Participation and Conditions of Coverage requirements that all providers must utilize and maintain systems and/or platforms that are secure, encrypted, to minimize the risks to patient privacy and confidentiality as per HIPAA regulations.

So under the regulations now, providers are allowed to share patient information via text messaging as long as it is under a secured platform.  Granted, texting patient orders is not allowed. CMS has come to terms that times are changing, and technology is evolving.  Opening up regulations to allow texting is just one way of keeping up with the change of times.  

To review the entire CMS announcement, go to:  

https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2018-Press-releases-items/2018-01-02.html

To review the latest Quality Payment Program details, go to:

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Payment-Program/Resource-Library/QPP-2017-Data-Submission-Factsheet.pdf

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(www.omnimd.com)