CMS opens data submission site for 2017 MACRA reporting

Clinicians who participated in the Quality Payment Program (QPP) established by Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) can now submit their 2017 performance data through an online system—and not to multiple websites as with past CMS programs.

The site’s submission period runs through March 31, except for groups using the CMS Web Interface, which can submit from Jan. 22 through March 16.

“(MACRA) requires CMS to implement the Quality Payment Program, and we are committed to doing so in the least burdensome way possible,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma, MPH, said in a statement. “The new data submission system makes it easier for clinicians to meet MACRA’s reporting requirements and spend more time treating patients instead of filing paperwork.”

CMS said in a press release the new system is an improvement over the more burdensome reporting required by the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.

Under the “pick your pace” offered for the QPP’s first performance year, clinicians participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track have to submit data on at least one quality measure or improvement activity to avoid a negative payment adjustment in 2019.

The submission system will update scores in real time for each of the four MIPS performance categories. Scores can be updated at any time during the submission period if clinicians add new data, a feature the HHS Office of the Inspector General said makes MIPS reporting particularly vulnerable to fraud and “could be abused if users submit inaccurate data solely for the purpose of obtaining the maximum possible points.”

For those participating in the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (AAPM) track or a MIPS APM, reporting may have to wait. CMS said in an accompanying fact sheet that it’s still working on the look-up tool for participants in models like Next Generation ACO and the Medicare Shared Savings Program and anticipates releasing an updated tool later this month.