In July of 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) gave physicians and practices a private look at their Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) feedback scores from 2017 through the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website. Clinicians and groups could review their category scores for Quality, Improvement Activities, Advancing Care Information (now known as Promoting Interoperability), and preview their Cost score (for informational purposes only). At that time, you could have ensured the information was accurate or request a “Targeted Review” if an error may have been present. The original deadline to request a review was extended through October of last year. However, we now expect to see these scores publicly this summer.
This is CMS’ way of sharing feedback on clinicians and group in a standardized way. The scoring system of 0-100 is also seemingly easier for patients, beneficiaries, and caregivers to understand. The comprehensive sharing of this data in a publicly available file will be new territory. Historically, data from programs past has been available on the CMS Physician Compare site. Past data has also only represented a subset of quality data that was likely reported. So as a physician or group, what should you be thinking about now that anyone will be able to find YOUR score?
Look at What’s Coming, If You Haven’t Already Done So
You can access your scores when you visit the QPP website and sign in to your HCQIS Access Roles and Profile (HARP) account. If you have not yet set up a HARP account, create an account or call 1-866-288-8292. (For TTY: 1-877-715-6222.) Knowing what your final scores were should help you understand where to direct your current 2019 performance year efforts. If you had lower scores, you may want to consider how to answer patient questions around that overall number if it were to come up. Being aware of what will be widely available is step 1.
Think About the Impact on Your Reputation
The comprehensive data set being publicly availability is a game changer. HealthGrades, Yelp, ZocDoc and other public sites will begin to integrate your scores into your online profiles in these places. If I can see that Dr. A, a Dermatologist had a score of 100 but Dr. B had a score of 43, it’s going to drive decision making at a consumer level to some extent. This could even have a referral impact from networks, other physicians, and payers. The value-based care narrative is one where exceptional quality at low-to-moderate cost is not just praise-worthy, it’s also a business worthy. I think we will see physicians and groups choosing to refer and work with those that exhibit similar focus (and scores) on quality and cost.
Leverage Great Scores!
If, like our clients, your average score was in the 90s or perfect, consider how you can promote your score. Just like movie ratings or restaurant feedback consumers and patients like transparent and publicly available ratings. Consider using the scores to promote your practice in your community or city. Hospitals and large groups already began doing this with older programs and smaller practices and group should follow suit. Also, consider how you might use your overall score to attract additional physicians to your practice or health system. ACOs have become good at doing this and it can also apply at a practice or hospital level.