MGMA Leaders Address Questions on Physician Quality Reporting Programs for 2015

All roads point to a challenging 2015 for providers. The ICD-10 deadline will finally (we think) arrive on October 1. Eligible Professionals still face a full year reporting period to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use. And there is strong indication that physicians continue to struggle with the complexities of meeting Medicare’s quality reporting requirements.

We reached out to senior leaders at the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to get their take on these issues and more.

Question: In October’s MGMA conference in Las Vegas, you released a survey showing the majority of MGMA members are critical of Medicare’s physician quality reporting programs. Can you share some insights on why practices feel these reporting programs are lacking?

Answered by Anders Gilberg, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs: The research we conducted revealed that physician practices do not believe that current Medicare physician quality reporting programs enhanced their physicians’ ability to provide high-quality patient care. In addition to the lack of effectiveness, physician practices reported significant challenges in complying with Medicare quality reporting requirements. More than 70% rated Medicare’s quality reporting requirements as “very” or “extremely” complex. And a significant majority of respondents indicated these programs negatively affected practice efficiency, support staff time, and clinician morale.

Question:  On November 4th, MGMA joined AMA, CHIME and HIMSS calling on CMS to shorten the 2015 reporting period for providers attesting to Stage 2 Meaningful Use. Can you provide additional detail on MGMA’s position on this issue?

Answered by Robert M. Tennant, MA, Senior Policy Advisor: MGMA has significant concerns regarding the ability of EPs to meet Stage 2 meaningful use in 2015. The association has joined with many other industry stakeholders in supporting the Flex-IT Act (HR 5481) that would shorten the meaningful use reporting period in 2015—mirroring the reporting periods for 2014. In addition, we have called on HHS to recognize the challenge that EP and their software vendor partners are facing in meeting the more rigorous Stage 2 requirements and to add much needed flexibility to the program. To date, with only about 2% of EPs having attested to meeting Stage 2, the program runs the real risk of failure should EPs not be able to continue participating in the program. With more than $25b of taxpayer money already having been spent, we assert that if HHS does not take substantive action that significant investment could be lost and true industry interoperability not achieved.

Question: Participating in the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting programs, meeting meaningful use requirements and transitioning to ICD-10 in October all point to a challenging 2015. What advice, counsel or resources will you be providing to your members to help meet next year’s demands?

Answered by Anders Gilberg, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs: Medical group practices have a lot on their plates, and they are being required to do more and more, with less. MGMA recognizes the complex and evolving environment that practices are navigating, and we want to be a resource to them. MGMA is continually distilling these complex regulations into actionable information for our members. Recently, we developed the PQRS-Value Modifier Survival Guide and custom FAQs to address the complexities of the overlapping quality and meaningful use programs. Along with developing tools like this, we spend a great deal of time fielding member calls and offering guidance specific to the unique situation a practice is in.