June 30, 2017

Proposed QPP Rule Eases Up on Small and Rural Practices

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) calendar year (CY) 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule offers support to clinicians in small, independent and rural practices.

CMS proposes increasing the low-volume threshold. This would exempt more small practices and eligible clinicians in rural and Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) from taking part in Merit-based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPS).

The proposed rule also offers Virtual Group participation. These groups would consist of solo practitioners and groups of 10 or fewer clinicians. They could come together “virtually” with at least one other such solo practitioner or group to take part in MIPS for a performance period of a year.

Additional flexible terms in the proposed for clinicians include:

Adding a new hardship exception for clinicians in small practices under the Advancing Care Information performance category

Adding bonus points to the final score of clinicians in small practices, and

Continuing to award small practices three points for measures in the quality performance category that don’t meet data completeness requirements

The ACR has prepared a detailed summary on the proposed CY 2018 QPP rule small and rural practice provisions.

The College will submit comments on the proposal to CMS by its August 21 deadline.