2014 is the last year for eligible professionals (EPs) participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program to earn an incentive payment for satisfactorily reporting PQRS quality data to CMS, as CMS reminded providers last week. CMS pointed out that this year also determines the 2016 PQRS payment adjustment, which makes 2014 doubly important to practices. Meeting the goals in 2014 could qualify physicians for a 0.5% incentive, while not meeting the requirements will cause a 2% adjustment in 2016.
Although some practices have forgone the incentive payment under the theory that compliance with program requirements is too onerous to justify the additional monies, the addition of a 2% penalty should make some practices think twice about ignoring the program.
If you are not too concerned about a 2% penalty, keep in mind that there are several penalties that could hit your practice in 2015 and 2016, and these begin to add up. In a worst case scenario these penalties can add up to 10%, which would be quite painful—especially for practices that are already struggling financially.
Qualifying doesn’t have to be difficult
The good news is that qualifying for PQRS doesn’t have to be difficult. One change for this year that simplifies the attestation is that the clinical quality measures (CQMs) are the same for 2014 Meaningful Use (MU) and PQRS. EPs can submit one file in early 2015 for both programs; but if the EP reports CQMs for MU & PQRS together, the incentive money will arrive in 2015. The MU incentive would come in spring 2015, and the PQRS incentive would arrive around September 2015. However, if they report separately, the MU incentive would arrive 6-8 weeks after submission as usual, and the PQRS incentive would arrive around September 2015.
Even better news is that for MediTouch users, attesting for CQMs is easy. Our built-in Meaningful Use Report Card® means that there is virtually no “extra” work to compile the data for your CQMs; the data is provided in the Meaningful Use Report Card® complete with the numerator and denominator data required during attestation. We provide the easy-to-read Meaningful Use Report Card® for every eligible provider in your practice, and it’s valuable in compiling data for both Meaningful Use and PQRS.
How to attest for PQRS
CMS outlines the steps to participate and earn an incentive on its website. Here are the steps for reporting with a Stage 2 MU certified EHR such as MediTouch:
STEP 1: Determine if you are eligible to participate.
STEP 2: Contact your EHR vendor to make sure they can create a compliant PQRS file from their system. Your EHR must be 2014 Meaningful Use certified in order for this to be an option. Note: MediTouch makes this simple with our Meaningful Use Report Card®, as mentioned above, and there is no charge to create the file.
STEP 3: Determine which measures to report, and review the specific criteria for the chosen reporting option in order to satisfactorily report. The number of measures you will have to report varies by reporting method. Be sure to pay attention to requirements for National Quality Strategy domains.
STEP 4: In 2015, be sure your PQRS file is submitted to the designated CMS website within the first two months of the year.
Remember, submitting for PQRS using MediTouch is a free service; take advantage of the opportunity for additional revenue for 2014, and avoid the 2016 penalty.
For more information
CMS advises that for more information or support on the 2014 PQRS program, providers should visit the PQRS Incentive Program website or the Help Desk. You can also find a helpful Q&A section on the CMS website, and CMS has issued a report on changes to the PQRS program for 2014.
You can also download our free Insider’s Guide to Getting Paid for Meaningful Use and PQRS in 2014.