NAACOS, others ask CMS not to finalize proposed quality changes

The groups cite the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in their call to nix a proposed effecting how ACOs report and are measured on quality.

The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) and nine other healthcare organization are calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to not finalize a proposed rule on ACO quality reporting and measuring.

According to a news release, the changes proposed in the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule would impact the way ACOs and other alternative payment models (APMs) report and are measured on quality in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The changes are scheduled to take effect during a time in which the healthcare industry still tries to navigate the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the expected delayed release of the final rule only exacerbates the reduced time ACOs and other APMs would have to enact the changes.

In addition to NAACOS, the American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, America’s Physician Groups, AMGA, Association of American Medical Colleges, Federation of American Hospitals, Medical Group Management Association, and Premier also signed the letter.

“The ACO quality changes proposed are significant and come at a time when ACOs are continuing to deal with challenges and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter says. “Just as CMS has proposed to delay moving forward with the MIPS Value Pathways approach due to concerns with COVID-19, CMS should also postpone such a drastic and significant change to the way ACO quality is measured, assessed, reported and scored for purposes of both the MSSP and MIPS programs.”

The proposed rule would end the use of the web interface reporting mechanism, which has been in use since the inception of MSSP, and would also remove the pay-for-reporting year currently issued to ACOs when they begin an initial MSSP contract. CMS also seeks to change the measure set ACOs must report under the new APM Performance Pathway. The proposed rule would additionally replace the current MIPS APM Scoring Standard, the release says.

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