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CMS provides exemptions to quality payment program participants amid COVID-19 crisis

The CMS on Sunday said it is easing reporting requirements for the 1.2 million clinicians in the Quality Payment Program and for other reporting programs in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Organizations participating in quality payment programs had expressed concern over accountability penalties and the potential of not receiving shared savings this performance year because of the novel coronavirus.

"In granting these exceptions and extensions, CMS is supporting clinicians fighting Coronavirus on the front lines," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a press release. "The Trump Administration is cutting bureaucratic red tape so the healthcare delivery system can direct its time and resources toward caring for patients."

CMS eliminated much of the need for reporting in the first six months of 2020. For the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, eligible clinicians who have not submitted any MIPS data by April 30, 2020 will receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year, according to the press release.

For the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting Program, any data from January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 submitted will be used for scoring in the program.

Programs with data submission deadlines in April and May 2020 will be given exemptions based on the facility's choice to report.

The CMS stated in the press release that it "recognizes that quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance on measures such as cost, readmissions and patient experience during this time of emergency and seeks to hold organizations harmless for not submitting data during this period."

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