Extended 2019 MIPS data submission ends April 30, plus new 2020 COVID-19 improvement activity

The 2019 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) data submission extension will end on April 30, 2020, at 8 pm. Individual MIPS eligible clinicians (ECs) who have not submitted any data, and who do not submit their MIPS data by the submission deadline will qualify for the 2019 automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy. MIPS ECs, groups, and virtual groups that submitted some data, but not able to complete their 2019 MIPS submission can now apply for a 2019 extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exception due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced that ECs may now earn 2020 MIPS credit for participation in a clinical trial and reporting clinical information by attesting to the new COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity. In order to receive credit for the new improvement activity, ECs must attest that they participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial utilizing a drug or biological product to treat a patient with a COVID-19 infection and report their findings through a clinical data repository or clinical data registry for the duration of their study.

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HHS announces delay of major parts of its interoperability rules

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS announced a delay in its implementation and enforcement of a number of important provisions of recently-released interoperability regulations. For example, the requirement that hospitals provide practices patient data on admissions, discharge, and transfer is delayed six additional months, going into effect one year after implementation of the final rule. In addition, the EHR vendors have an additional three months to comply with the requirement to support patient access to their data via third-party apps. The clock for implementation of the final rules does not start until they are published in the Federal Register, expected to occur early next month. HHS’ Office of Inspector General also unveiled its proposed rule to impose financial penalties on certain entities that violate the information-blocking rules.

Congress passes aid package to assist healthcare providers and small businesses

Today, Congress passed an economic aid package to assist healthcare providers and small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266) includes $321 billion for the recently depleted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loans and grants, $75 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers, and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing. If signed into law, the Small Business Administration can once again begin accepting PPP applications. The $75 billion for healthcare providers would be in addition to the original $100 billion in relief funds allocated under the CARES Act and distributed in the future by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). President Trump has signaled support and is expected to sign the bill into law.

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Visit the new MGMA COVID-19 Action Center

Originally published in the March 12, 2020 issue of MGMA’s Washington Connection
Reprinted with permission from MGMA

As the Administration, Congress, and broader healthcare community work to combat the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), MGMA will keep medical group practices apprised of the latest developments that could affect patient care and practice operations. Visit the MGMA COVID-19 Action Center for updates on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance as well as resources that will help your practice during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Follow this link to access the action center.