• MIPS 2020—Succeed at MIPS

    This content is excerpted from EyeNet’s MIPS 2020; also see the Academy’s MIPS hub page.


    What is your MIPS goal for 2020? Whether it is to earn the exceptional performance bonus or simply to avoid the payment penalty, the Academy can provide you and your MIPS team with the tools you need to succeed.

    Empower Your MIPS Team

    Your practice should have a MIPS point person and, in case of illness or staff turnover, at least one backup. These staff members should be responsible, detail-oriented, proactive, and patient. With the maximum penalty now increased to –9%, a physician should serve as the practice’s MIPS champion and make sure your MIPS staff have what they need.

    Give your MIPS team the tools they need. Do your MIPS specialists have access to all the Academy and AAOE MIPS resources, especially the Small Practice Roadmap, the Large Practice Roadmap, and the AAOE eTalk listserv. Do they have your practice’s login credential for the IRIS Registry

    Don’t make assumptions about MIPS status. The MIPS point person should check whether each of the practice’s clinicians is a MIPS eligible clinician, and can do so using the QPP Participation Status Lookup tool (see “What’s Your MIPS Participation Status”). Also use the Lookup tool to learn about other important MIPS designations, such as whether CMS classifies the practice as small or large.

    Is your 2020 MIPS performance on track? You should have already picked a quality reporting option and know what quality measures you are reporting. You should also have reviewed the improvement activities and, if applicable, the promoting interop­erability measures. Have you decided whether your clinicians are reporting as individuals or as a group? If the latter, make sure all clinicians know which quality measures and im­provement activities you plan to report.

    MIPS tip. The IRIS Registry will need to contact your MIPS point person. Makes sure staff members who answer the phones or email know to forward MIPS- or IRIS Registry–related inquiries to the right person.

    Make the Most of the IRIS Registry

    The IRIS Registry is ophthalmology’s tool of choice for MIPS reporting (aao.org/iris-registry/medicare-reporting).

    Make sure your practice and provider information is up to date. Whenever there is clinician turnover, make sure you update your provider information on the IRIS Registry. You can do so by submitting a Help Desk ticket (see aao.org/iris-registry/user-guide/submit-help-desk-ticket). Also let the IRIS Registry know if any of your clinicians don’t have to take part in MIPS, or if the low-volume exclusion applies but they decide to opt-in to MIPS.

    Speed up IRIS Registry communications. Whenever you contact the IRIS Registry or its vendors, make sure you include your practice’s name and its IRIS Registry ID. 

    Got a MIPS Conundrum?

    If you can’t find your answer among the Academy’s extensive resources, you can email the Academy with questions about MIPS (mips@aao.org) or about the IRIS Registry (irisregistry@aao.org). And the e-Talk listserv provides AAOE members with a popular forum for exchanging MIPS tips (aao.org/member-services/join).

    What About COVID-19?

    COVID-19 has been massively disruptive to all areas of life, and ophthalmology is no exception. Indeed, in mid-March, in an attempt to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic, many ophthalmology practices cancelled most patient encounters, only remaining available for urgent and emergent cases. No practice took the decision to close their doors lightly, and the costs of doing so have been high, with practices, for example, terminating staff members or putting them on furlough.

    What will all this mean for MIPS? The regulations allow you to apply to be exempt from a performance category if you are hindered by “extreme and uncontrol­lable circumstances.” At time of press, CMS hadn’t said whether they would provide any additional accommodations to MIPS participants in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once CMS starts tackling this issue, the Academy will make sure that the agency taken oph­thalmology’s concerns into consideration. For the latest news, check your email each Thursday for Washington Report Express (Thursdays) and—if you are an AAOE member—Practice Management Express (Sundays).

    Previous: Your Nine-Step Guide to MIPS Resources

    Next: Your MIPS Final Score

    DISCLAIMER AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: Meeting regulatory requirements is a complicated process involving continually changing rules and the application of judgment to factual situations. The Academy does not guarantee or warrant that regulators and public or private payers will agree with the Academy’s information or recommendations. The Academy shall not be liable to you or any other party to any extent whatsoever for errors in, or omissions from, any such information provided by the Academy, its employees, agents, or representatives.

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    All of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)–developed quality measures are copyrighted by the AAO’s H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, Center for Quality Eye Care (see terms of use).