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MIPS Improvement Activities – How to Choose

Posted on Sep 12, 2017 by Lea Chatham

    It is your last chance to do 90 days of reporting for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).It’s hard to believe that we are closing in on the last 90 days of 2017! Not only does this mean we all need to start prepping for the holidays, but it is also your last chance to do 90 days of reporting for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

    If you want to try to avoid a penalty and possibly even get an incentive, you need to report for a full 90 days in 2017. To attest, you need to complete requirements for the three parts of MIPS:

    1. Quality (60%)
    2. Advancing Care Information (25%)
    3. Improvement Activities (15%)

    In our last posts we reviewed the requirements for the Quality portion of MIPS and the Advancing Care Information portion. This month, we’re taking a closer look at the Advancing Care Information (ACI) component.

    Now, it is time to look at Improvement Activities. For most participants, this means completing up to four improvement activities for a minimum of 90 days. If you are in a group with fewer than 15 participants or in a rural health or health professional shortage area, then complete up to two activities. If you are in a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) or some APMs, you get full credit. Other APMs may receive half credit.

    There are 93 Improvement Activities to choose from. Some are weighted more heavily than others and can help boost your score. You can sort by activity weighting. You can also sort the activities by subcategory (i.e., behavioral and mental health, care coordination, or patient safety).

    Once you review and select your Improvement Activities, you can add them to your list and then download them to a CSV file and save them. The file provides the name along with the requirements details.

    Selecting improvement activities for MIPS

    With limited time to choose and begin implementing these activities, you may want to choose items that are easier to do for 2017. If you already do a patient satisfaction survey, it may simply be a matter of a few modifications or improved tracking. Perhaps you already ask about tobacco use with most patients. So, the Tobacco Use activity might be a good fit. Or choose something that is already on your plan for enhanced services like telehealth or group visits.

    Don’t just think about 2017 either. Consider which activities you could do in 2017 and perhaps which ones you could choose for 2018 that build on the work you have already done. If you want to focus more on care coordination, then look at all the options and choose one or two for this year and one or two to add for next year.

    Finally, document everything you do related to your Improvement Activities. You may be asked to provide supporting documentation by Medicare. It would be a shame if you didn’t get credit for the extra work because you couldn’t show documentation of what you did.

    Watch for more posts on how you can use patient relationship management software to help support some Improvement Activities for 2017 and 2018.

    Have questions about MIPS? Ask them in the comments, and we’ll track down the answers.

    Wondering how to find more time in your office schedule to focus on things like MIPS? Read the "Eight Opportunities to Increase Office Efficiency." 

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    Lea Chatham

    Lea Chatham

    Lea Chatham is the Director of Content Marketing at Solutionreach and the editor of the SR Health blog. She develops educational resources to help healthcare organizations improve patient engagement. Her work has been published in many leading journals including Physicians Practice and Medical Economics and she has presented webinars for industry groups like MGMA.

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