As a mental and behavioral health clinician, you might be immediately skeptical about the title of this blog. CMS has, after all, given you a free pass for two consecutive reporting years. That’s right, the government is actually giving you a break! So why should mental and behavioral health clinicians still report?
Tracking Quality Measures Provides Real Value.
By capturing performance data for quality measures, clinicians can adjust their care coordination processes, subsequently improving the overall care of their patients. Additionally, the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO), alongside Healthmonix, has launched their own qualified clinical data registry (QCDR) called the Mental and Behavioral Health Registry (MBHR). QCDR participation even further extends the improvements to patient care.
Quality measures are a mechanism for assessing observations, treatment, processes, experience, and/or outcomes of patient care. By tracking patient data across several quality measures, clinicians can identify areas for quality improvement, differences in care/outcomes among various populations, and improve care coordination between healthcare providers. All of this goes toward improving the overall care of patients, which we all know is what matters most.
The Benefits of Quality Measures Continue to Improve.
To further improve the benefits of quality measures, the APAPO launched their QCDR in the beginning of 2018. QCDR’s are non-MIPS CMS approved measures, which are more relevant to specialists and their work. The two quality measures under the MBHR are “Anxiety Utilization of GAD-7 Tool” and “Anxiety Response at 6-months”. These measures work in tandem to improve patient care for those with anxiety. Also, with this being the first year of the MBHR, clinicians who participate have a real opportunity to shape it in future years.
Despite these points, it may still be tempting to enjoy the break from reporting now. But this break is not permanent, and those who use this time wisely will be happy to find that:
Reporting Now Will Save You Stress in Future Years.
CMS will require mental and behavioral health clinicians to report beginning in 2019, and there will be a huge learning curve to overcome for those without MIPS experience. Meanwhile, CMS continues to make MIPS more demanding, while increasing its financial implications. During PQRS days, clinicians were able to select a single measure group and report on 20 instances per measure. Now, CMS is asking clinicians report on 60% of all patient visits throughout the calendar year across 6 quality measures. Failing to report in 2018 results in an automatic 5% penalty. These numbers are expected to increase in 2019; the first year mental and behavioral health clinicians are required to report MIPS.
For those without MIPS experience or familiarity, there will be several obstacles to overcome. By being prepared now, mental and behavioral health clinicians can reduce their financial risk moving forward.
Clearly, mental and behavioral health clinicians have a lot to gain by reporting MIPS now. Tracking Quality measures allows clinicians to identify ways to improve overall patient care. And by participating in the APAPO’s MBHR, clinicians can go one step further for their patients. Mental and behavioral health clinicians will be required to report MIPS in 2019, and preparation and experience are the keys to survive and thrive in it.