Moving Beyond 2018 MIPS Successes and Challenges

With Q2 well under way, we’re taking stock of 2018 successes and challenges here at SA Ignite. As my colleague Leslie Athmer mentioned in her recent blog post, we submitted MIPS data for nearly 10,000 clinicians, earning an average score of 94% in the three categories submitted for their 2018 performance.

Outstanding results like these don’t happen by accident. Our customers took what they learned from 2017, continued their proven processes, and tried some new tactics for 2018. Some were more successful than others… here’s a quick summary of both sides.

Tactics for Success – Building on meaningful measures, together

  1. Driving organization-wide buy-in on the most meaningful measures. By setting up regular collaboration between departments – physicians, quality, IT, operations, finance, managed care – the organization will take all viewpoints into consideration and set shared expectations. Our most successful customers have established steering committees to ensure that their MIPS measures and organizational priorities are aligned.
  2. Connecting MIPS measures to high-priority initiatives.  One organization has selected mental health measures to address troubling trends in their community; the organization-wide focus on screening and prevention has fostered increased clinician engagement, which is driving improvements in early intervention and treatment.
  3. Establish baseline performance levels, and achievable targets for improvement. On our recent ABCs of the QPP webinar, we asked participants to identify three ways that they tried to improve MIPS management in 2018. Out of 300+ responses to the poll, more than half answered that they set goals for specific measures in 2018. We’ve noticed a similar trend with our own customers – now that we’re in Year 3 for MIPS, organizations have solid information about their past results and are using our tools to set goals and custom scorecards to track and share progress throughout the year.Staying mindful of public reporting and its reputational impact. As CMS prepares to release 2017 MIPS measures and scores on the Physician Compare website this spring, organizations want to put their best foot forward by reporting meaningful measures as well as high-scoring ones. We’ll share our analysis on Physician Compare as soon as it is released.

Challenges – Overcoming the “good enough” mindset

  1. Educating and engaging clinicians who want to maintain their current level of performance. For the first two years of MIPS, performance thresholds were low and relatively easy to achieve for many organizations. Throughout 2018, we talked about the ways that MIPS is designed to become significantly more competitive over the next few years – truly, ALL clinicians need to step up their performance to ensure that organization-wide scores keep up with the increasingly tougher benchmarks. As an example, my previous blog post about the 2019 PI Category to digs into some of the major changes.
  2. Building awareness of MIPS as more than a compliance program.

Organizations with few resources assigned to MIPS in 2017 and 2018 are now wishing that they’d positioned MIPS differently from the start – by treating it as a “gotta check the box” program in these early years, they’ve inadvertently minimized the potential impact of MIPS in their organizations. We’ve seen that when program managers begin to collaborate with other stakeholders more effectively, it’s easier to use MIPS as a stepping-stone into other value-based care programs. Achieving higher MIPS scores and incentive payments is a good place to start; using the insights from MIPS to improve other programs is a logical next step!

This article was originally published on SA Ignite.

By Chris Long, Director, Customer Success, SA Ignite