Thriving During the Zombie Apocalypse (a.k.a. MIPS)

By Susan Clark, Health IT Solutions Manager, eHealthcare Consulting, Inc.
Twitter: @ehealthcareorg

Earlier this year the headlines read that Meaningful Use was dead. The collective sigh of relief was short-lived as it became apparent, as some of us already knew, that Meaningful Use wasn’t going away. It was simply changing its form to something called Advancing Care Information within the MIPS (Merit-Based Incentive Payment System) rule. What other creature appears to die yet goes on to live, eating the brains of its victims? That’s right, ZOMBIES. Without the support of survivalist, like my favorite from the Walking Dead, Daryl, how do we fight these things?? While we let CMS digest the nearly 4,000 comments on the proposed rule, there are some things we can do before they unleash the zombies.

Have an Emergency Tool Kit Ready

  • Food, water, medications, batteries, can opener, matches……In this world that translates to a solid IT infrastructure, 2014 Certified EHR Technology (with a plan to move to 2015 CEHRT by 2018), patient portal, Direct address, reporting tools, and an endless supply of chocolate for the staff.

Buddy Up

  • It’s dangerous to go out there alone. Surround yourself with talented resources for technology, clinical quality, and regulatory compliance. Whether internal or external consulting/contracted resources, you need someone focused on this program.

Devise a Plan

  • Don’t wait until the zombies show up at your door, and then choose panic as your solution (The shrieking will only excite them.) Have a map for your team to follow and an action plan for every route that may be blocked along the journey.

Zombie-Proof Your House

  • To protect your “house” for MIPS you need adequate fire walls and encryption. Complete this year’s HIPAA Security Risk Assessment and begin attacking those items in need of mitigation. Think of it as boarding up your windows and pushing the couch in front of the door.

Get in Shape

  • You need to be physically in the best condition of your life to outrun zombies. Especially once they form a herd. That means you can’t be slow on the go when they show up. Start preparing now at levels that will meet the maximum point values for MIPS so you have a head start and can’t even hear them moaning behind you.

Aim for the Brain

  • Here’s how to get the brain: Be the first on the attack, move swiftly and smartly so nobody sneaks up behind you. This will get you maximum incentive money. That could be 4-10% of your Medicare billing in the first payment year.  If you miss the brain, the ‘walker’ or ‘biter’, as they are sometimes called, will deduct up to 4% of your Medicare billing in the first payment year and it only gets worse in subsequent years.

Lastly don’t go on hope that somebody in the government will make it all go away (Note: MIPS is part of the MACRA act, not that other famous one that has been repeatedly threatened to be repealed). On the Walking Dead, the CDC was one of the first locations to fall. The world as we knew it in the 80’s & 90’s is no longer the landscape. Doing the bare minimum to meet standards is not the answer. Stand tall and rise above the chaos, blaze the trail, and embrace the new world. With money in your pocket.

Don’t just survive. Thrive.