Hello Spring! Goodbye 2017 MIPS Submission Season!

By Carol Zindler, VP, Customer Success, SA Ignite
Twitter: @saignite

Now that the first MIPS submission is over, and that other regulatory hurdle (tax-day) is behind us, we can finally enjoy spring and get ready to ease into summer, right? Before we do, it’s a good idea to take stock in what worked and what didn’t work for MIPS while it’s still fresh in your minds, and so you can perform well in 2018.

First, congratulations to SA Ignite customers in their stellar showing for MIPS. The average MIPS category scores across 7,027 clinicians submitted via IgniteMIPS was over 90%, with an overall MIPS average of 95%. These scores place this group of clinicians and healthcare practices into the exceptional performance bonus range, ensuring they receive maximum financial incentives. Learn how SA Ignite SubMission Control helps providers optimize performance in MIPS.

SA Ignite helped our customers gain control over their MIPS submission to earn top scores and peace of mind. Here’s what we learned:

What worked – Focused and proactive performance management

  • Proactively managing performance and engagement within each MIPS category throughout the year yielded high scores at submission time and alleviated undue stress around submission decisions.
  • Zeroing in on the best six quality measures that suited the goals of the practice motivated clinicians to engage in the program throughout the year, and ultimately delivered equally high scores.
  • Discovering improvement opportunities along the way facilitated higher-level conversations with individual clinicians and boosted overall scores in each category.
  • Collaborating with an expert MIPS team to mitigate the complexity of the regulation and the data management that goes along with it, allowed teams to focus on performance and improvement opportunities.
  • Being strategic about the number of measures you submit (6 or more) can impact your public reputation, positively or negatively.

What didn’t work – Denial, procrastination and constant change

  • The repeal of MIPS didn’t happen. In fact, CMS reinforced their position to use MIPS as a stepping stone to value-based care, taking measures to ease some of the regulations and extend the transition period. Read about those changes in our recent blog, Modifications to MIPS by the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2018. Many providers were struggling to catch up.
  • MIPS is more than a once-a-year project. The MIPS program is complex with many decision points that impact final scores and reflect the mission and quality of the clinicians and the practice as a whole. We experienced a number of providers in angst over waiting till the end of the year to address these decisions.
  • CMS instituted some relatively late-breaking changes that disrupted some EHRs’ preparedness, including updating 2017 Quality measure benchmarks in November and delivering specifications for the QPP portal in January. This led to unnecessary chaos, uncertainty and risk. We address the risk of relying on the EHR for MIPS in a 2017 study.

Improvements for 2018 – Analysis, engagement and preparedness

  • Challenge assumptions throughout the year so you are in a position to make the most informed decisions when it comes time to submit. For example, group reporting isn’t always the best fit, and the top six measures won’t always yield the highest scores.
  • Trust, but verify what EHR and MIPS partners are saying so you don’t get caught up in end-of-year chaos or be unable to achieve as many points as you thought. If you’re aligning with a QCDR, dig in to the measures to determine the benchmark scale and whether you can achieve more than 3-6 points. Your bottom line and reputation are at stake.
  • Engage a well-rounded team that includes clinical, quality, operations and compliance to collaborate and make decisions that best suit the goals of your practice. This internal team, coupled with a MIPS partner that provides expert insights will lead to more proactive decision making.

Spring is here and so is 2018 MIPS performance. So, while you’re sitting at that baseball game basking in the sun, watching your daughter’s gymnastics meet or binge-watching your favorite program take the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work for your team, and consider a dose of SA Ignite “SubMission Control” to maximize your 2018 performance. We are excited to apply what we learned and contribute to our customer’s ability to exceed this year’s great performance!

What are some of the key learnings from 2017 MIPS that you’d like to share?

This article was originally published on SA Ignite and is republished here with permission.