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GOP Doctors Caucus seeks lower MIPS threshold


 

The House GOP Doctors Caucus is pushing officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid to lower the exclusion threshold for participation in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the lawmakers noted that about 60% of health care providers are excluded from MIPS – one track of the agency’s Quality Payment Program – mostly because of the high participation threshold set by the agency.

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Since the program provides incentive payments to doctors by shifting Medicare Part B payments, the low participation is also lowering the payments available for high-level performance.

“The most notable ramification of the current threshold has been lower maximum positive updates on how MIPS ultimately adjusts Part B payments,” the lawmakers wrote. “For example, high performers are estimated to receive an aggregate payment adjustment in 2019 of 1.1% – based on their 2017 performance – even though adjustments of up to 4% are authorized.”

This payment trend “fails to incentivize meaningful participation in MIPS,” they wrote.


The current MIPS threshold excludes any physician or practice that generates $90,000 or less in Part B billing or sees 200 or fewer Medicare patients. The agency had initially set the threshold lower, at $30,000 or less in billing or 100 patients but created a larger exemption based on feedback from many physician groups.

The five members of the House GOP Doctors Caucus who signed on to the letter are Phil Roe (Tenn.), Andy Harris (Md.), Earl “Buddy” Carter (Ga.), Larry Bucshon (Ind.), and Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.).

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