MedPAC Votes to Nix MIPS and Recommends Alternative Program

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission(MedPac), a federal group tasked to advise Congress on Medicare, voted 14-2 earlier this month in favor of recommending Congress eliminate the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

In a presentation at the meeting, MedPAC policy analysts criticized the program, saying it is “burdensome and complex” and “replicates flaws of prior value-based purchasing programs. Also, MIPS will not succeed in helping beneficiaries choose clinicians, helping clinicians change practice patterns to improve value or helping the Medicare program to reward clinicians on value”.

The commission documents went further saying “MIPS cannot succeed because much of the reported information is not meaningful, scores among clinicians are not comparable and the MIPS payments, although minimal in the first two years, become large and arbitrary in later years”. MedPAC commissioners also cite the financial burden on physicians to comply with reporting requirements and issues with the metrics.

The Commission voted to asks Congress to eliminate MIPS and establish a new voluntary value program (VVP) in which clinicians join a group and are compared to each other on the quality of care for patients. Physicians who perform well would receive an incentive payment. The suggestion will be published in the advisory group’s annual March report to Congress.

The VVP would include an across-the-board 2% withhold for all fee schedule payments, and performance would be assessed using uniform measures across three categories:

  • Clinical quality
  • Patient experience
  • Value

MedPac staff noted that MIPS recommendations are non-binding and repeal likely wouldn’t take place until 2019 or 2020 depending when or if Congress accepted its recommendation.

As always, ADVOCATE will keep you up to date on this and all issues impacting radiology as they become available.

Best regards,
Kirk Reinitz, CPA