How did otolaryngologists perform in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for Medicare in 2017?
This cross-sectional study found that in 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services required 6512 active otolaryngologists to participate in the MIPS; among these, 68.6% received bonuses for exceptional performance and 10.3% incurred penalties for failure to participate. The proportion of otolaryngologists earning bonuses for exceptional performance varied by reporting affiliation (individual: 56.5%; group: 67.6%; alternative payment model: 97.1%).
Most otolaryngologists participating in the 2017 MIPS received performance bonuses, although variation exists within the field.
The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for Medicare is the largest pay-for-performance program in the history of health care. Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the MIPS in 2017, the participation and performance of otolaryngologists in this program remain unclear.
To characterize otolaryngologist participation and performance in the MIPS in 2017.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of otolaryngologist participation and performance in the MIPS from January 1 through December 31, 2017, using the publicly available CMS Physician Compare 2017 eligible clinician public reporting database.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The number and proportion of active otolaryngologists who participated in the MIPS in 2017 were determined. Overall 2017 MIPS payment adjustments received by participants were determined and stratified by reporting affiliation (individual, group, or alternative payment model [APM]). Payment adjustments were categorized based on overall MIPS performance scores in accordance with CMS methodology: penalty (<3 points), no payment adjustment (3 points), positive adjustment (between 3 and 70 points), or bonus for exceptional performance (≥70 points).
In 2017, CMS required 6512 of 9526 (68.4%) of active otolaryngologists to participate in the MIPS. Among these otolaryngologists, 5840 (89.7%) participated; 672 (10.3%) abstained and thus incurred penalties (−4% payment adjustment). The 6512 participating otolaryngologists reported MIPS data as individuals (1990 [30.6%]), as groups (3033 [46.6%]), and through CMS-designated APMs (964 [14.8%]). The majority (4470 of 5840 [76.5%]) received bonuses (maximum payment adjustment, +1.9%) for exceptional performance, while a minority received only a positive payment adjustment (1006 of 5840 [17.2%]) or did not receive an adjustment (364 of 5840 [6.2%]). Whereas nearly all otolaryngologists reporting data via APMs (936 of 964 [97.1%]) earned bonuses for exceptional performance, fewer than 70% of otolaryngologists reporting data as individuals (1124 of 1990 [56.5%]) or groups (2050 of 3033 [67.6%]) earned such bonuses. Of note, nearly all otolaryngologists incurring penalties (658 of 672 [97.9%]) were affiliated with groups.
Conclusions and Relevance
Most otolaryngologists participating in the 2017 MIPS received performance bonuses, although variation exists within the field. As CMS continues to reform the MIPS and raise performance thresholds, otolaryngologists should consider adopting measures to succeed in the era of value-based care.
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Xiao R, Rathi VK, Kondamuri N, et al. Otolaryngologist Performance in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System in 2017. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online May 21, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.0847
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