3 Ways to Prepare Your Practice for MIPS
As winter approaches, savvy owners and managers of medical practices are already looking ahead to 2017 with an eye toward seeing what regulations, financial incentives, and other factors will affect their bottom line.
They know that following industry best practices and preparing well ahead of time for integrating new government guidelines is essential if you want to remain competitive in your area. Of particular interest are the financial incentives from Medicare and Medicaid, which are rewards designed to encourage medical practices to examine their processes and streamline their efforts.
The U.S. government is highly motivated to encourage medical practices to reduce costs while providing a higher standard of care to each patient. This means we want to use our resources more effectively, cutting waste and doing better in preventing, diagnosing, and treating patients as well as monitoring their progress through aftercare programs whenever appropriate. To that end, president Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, on April 16, 2015 into law with bipartisan support.
MACRA will reward doctors when they strive to provide better care rather than just more service. The emphasis is on quality over quantity. Examples of waste include tests that medical professionals would regard as unnecessary (such as repeating an x-ray in one hospital on Tuesday when the patient was x-rayed the previous day at another facility).
Medicare and Medicaid’s payment framework is changing under MACRA. This will be accomplished through a new program called the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS, which will begin its first performance year on January 1, 2017. With that in mind, here are three ways to prepare your practice for MIPS.
Arriving at the "better results & less expenditure" destination can be made simple. Having a certified EHR is the first step to getting there.
1. Deploy Certified Electronic Health Record Software
One of the best things your medical practice can do to prepare for MIPS is to make sure you have an up-to-date, certified EHR application installed.
If your practice has been getting by with a paper-based system for patient records, now is the time to upgrade and use the latest in software and technology. It will save your staff time and effort and is a requirement for getting reimbursed by Medicaid and Medicare.
2. Take Steps to Meet the Requirements of Quality Reporting
No government incentive program would be complete without some kind of requirement to report on results, and MIPS is no exception.
Now, MIPS will gather three EHR-based incentive program measurements into one. These programs are Meaningful Use, the Physician Quality Reporting System, and Value-based Payment Modifier.
3. Designate a Staffer to Stay on Top of MIPS Requirements
Not everyone on your staff needs to be fully briefed on MIPS requirements, if you lack the staffing and other resources to train everyone immediately.
But it would be prudent to designate at least one staff member to stay on top of MIPS requirements. Government regulations are always subject to change, so you can expect to see some adjustments to MIPS directives every year.
Medical practices need to take advantage of every opportunity to boost their income in today’s highly competitive market. Adhering to MIPS requirements will ensure that your practice will receive all of the financial incentives that you are due from Medicaid and Medicare. Therefore, it would be a good idea to begin preparing your practice for MIPS as soon as possible.
- President Obama signed MACRA into law in 2015.
- MACRA emphasizes providing higher quality medical service over higher quantity.
- To meet MACRA requirements, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System or MIPS begins on January 1, 2017.
- Make sure to deploy up-to-date, certified electronic health record or EHR software so you can comply with MIPS requirements.
- Assign a member of your team to stay on top of MIPS changes so you won’t be surprised by legislative updates.
About Christina Rosario
Christina Rosario is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, a leading provider of healthcare IT solutions for medical practices and billing companies. When she's not helping ADS clients boost productivity and profitability, she can be found browsing travel websites, shopping in NYC, and spending time with her family.