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MIPS: Nearly all eligible clinicians got a bonus for 2018


Nearly all clinicians who are eligible to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Quality Payment Program did so in 2018; most scored above the performance threshold and got a bonus.

Seema Verma, CMS administrator

Seema Verma

According to the most recent data released this month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 98.37% of MIPS-eligible clinicians participated in the program. In the small/solo practice space, 89.20% of MIPS-eligible clinicians participated.

But more importantly, the clinicians are performing better one year later with the program, even though fewer are participating.

In 2018, 97.63% of clinicians scored above the performance threshold, up from 93.12% in 2017. There also were fewer clinicians performing at the threshold (0.42% in 2018, down from 2.01% in the previous year) and fewer clinicians scoring below the threshold (1.95%, down from 4.87%).

Exceeding the performance threshold resulted in a bonus to fee schedule payments in 2018, although the agency did not disclose how much money was paid out in performance bonuses.

MIPS scored “improved across performance categories, with the biggest gain in the Quality performance category, which highlights the program’s effectiveness in measuring outcomes for beneficiaries,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote in a blog post.

The total number of eligible clinicians decreased in 2018 to 916,058, down from 1,057,824 in 2017 because CMS broadened the low-volume threshold to exempt providers from participation requirements.

Participants in a MIPS alternative payment model saw even more success in 2018. Participation increased from 341,220 clinicians in 2017 to 356,828 clinicians in 2018, while virtually all performed above the performance threshold (100% in 2017 and 99.99% in 2018). The 0.01% that was not above the threshold still met it, while no clinicians in either year that participated in a MIPS alternative payment model performed below the threshold.

Participation in the advanced alternative payment model track increased as well, going from 99,026 in 2017 to 183,306 in 2018.

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