• Wednesday, August 15, 2018 9:40 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    Sharing Federal Strategies to Address the Opioid Epidemic

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018
    1:30 -3:00 pm Eastern Time
    Conference Call Only

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host a Special Open Door Forum (SODF) for opioid prescribers to educate them on federal resources and strategies to combat the opioid epidemic.

    The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. This SODF brings together representatives from various federal agencies to discuss strategies and resources for safe prescribing as well as other opioid-related topics.

    You will hear information from the following federal agencies:

    • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Food and Drug Administration
    • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    • Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

    We look forward to your participation.

    Special Open Door Participation Instructions:

    Participant Dial-In Number: 1-800-857-1738

    Conference ID #: 7785347

    Note: TTY Communications Relay Services are available for the Hearing Impaired. For TTY services dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-855-2880. A Relay Communications Assistant will help.

    A transcript and audio recording of this Special ODF will be posted to the Podcast and Transcripts website at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts.html for downloading.

    For automatic emails of Open Door Forum schedule updates (E-Mailing list subscriptions) and to view Frequently Asked Questions please visit our website at http://www.cms.gov/opendoorforums/

  • Monday, August 13, 2018 5:07 PM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    Physicians have until October 15, 2018 to collect their supporting information and attest for achieving 2017 Promoting Interoperability. 

    Participating Eligible Professionals (EPs) can receive an $8500 per year incentive for each of up to four years of participation.  Grant funded free technical services are available from Strategic Interests to assist with your current and future attestations for Stages 2 and 3 through the Eligible Professional 2 Program.

    About the Medicaid Eligible Professional Program (EP2) Program and Services Available

    The Medicaid Eligible Professional Program (EP2) is a New York State Department of Health (DOH) initiative providing FREE outreach, assistance, and support services.  In the Buffalo and Rochester areas, NYeC has selected Strategic Interests as the supporting Technical Agent to assist providers in achieving the various stages of Promoting Interoperability.  These free EP2 Services include:

    • Readiness Assessment
    • Project/Program Support
    • Audit Readiness and Preparation
    • HIE Connectivity


    Enrollment is a simple two-step process:

    • Filling out/confirming a list of the eligible providers in a spreadsheet-based roster
    • Completion, with single signing authority, an electronic Practice Participation Agreement/Business Associate Agreement.  This will be done through Docu-Sign. 

    Below is a summary of the program and a comparison of the Stage 2 and Stage 3 objectives:

    NYeC EP2 Summary.pdf

    MU Objective Comparison.pdf

    For more information or to enroll, email EP2@strategicinterests.com.  Staff from Strategic Interests are willing to set up a videoconference call with you or representatives from the practice to review the program and answer any questions. 

  • Thursday, August 09, 2018 8:33 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    The 2018 Quality Payment Program Exception Applications for the Promoting Interoperability (PI) performance category and for Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances for the Merit-based Incentive System (MIPS) are now available on the Quality Payment Program website.

    Promoting Interoperatability Hardship Exceptions

    If you’re participating in MIPS during the 2018 performance year as an individual, group, or virtual group—or participating in a MIPS Alternative Payment Model (APM)—you can submit a Quality Payment Program Hardship Exception Application for the PI performance category, citing one of the following specified reasons for review and approval:

    • MIPS-eligible clinicians in small practices (new for 2018)
    • MIPS-eligible clinicians using decertified EHR technology (new for 2018)
    • Insufficient Internet connectivity
    • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances
    • Lack of control over the availability of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT)

    An approved Quality Payment Program Hardship Exception will:

    • Reweight your PI performance category score to 0 percent of the final score
    • Reallocate the 25 percent weighting of the PI performance category to the Quality performance category

    Please note that simply not using CEHRT does not qualify you for reweighting of your PI performance category.

    You must submit a hardship exception application by December 31, 2018 for CMS to reweight the PI performance category to 0 percent.

    Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances

    MIPS eligible clinicians who are impacted by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances may submit a request for reweighting of the Quality, Cost, and Improvement Activities performance categories.

    "Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances" are defined as rare events (highly unlikely to occur in a given year) entirely outside your control and the facility in which you practice.

    These extreme and uncontrollable circumstances would cause you to be unable to collect information necessary to submit for a performance category, or to submit information that would be used to score a performance category for an extended period of time (for example, 3 months unable to collect data for the Quality performance category). In your application, you must indicate the performance categories that were subject to an extreme and uncontrollable circumstance and how the circumstance affected your ability to collect or submit data for the 2018 MIPS performance year.

    The application for extreme and uncontrollable circumstances must be submitted by December 31, 2018 for the 2018 MIPS performance year.

    For More Information:

    Visit the Quality Payment Program Website
  • Thursday, August 09, 2018 8:30 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    If you submitted 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) data through the Quality Payment Program website, you can now view your performance feedback and MIPS final score.

    CMS originally displayed a single payment adjustment amount, which included an additional adjustment for exceptional performance available to MIPS eligible clinicians and groups with a final score of 70 or greater. However, based on feedback from various clinicians and groups, we have updated the system so that your MIPS payment adjustment, and if applicable, your additional adjustment for exceptional performance, are now displayed separately. The system will continue to display your total MIPS payment adjustment, which is a sum of your MIPS performance and exceptional performance.

    How to Access Your Final Score and Feedback

    You can access your 2017 MIPS performance feedback and final score by:

    Upcoming Office Hours

    CMS will be hosting an office hours session on August 14 to provide a brief overview of MIPS 2017 performance feedback and targeted review and to answer frequently asked questions.

    Title: Performance Feedback and Targeted Review Office Hours Session

    Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

    Register: https://meetingconnect.webex.com/meetingconnect/onstage/g.php?MTID=e91df49e0f68fa7073866f0307f82b53b



    If you have questions about your performance feedback or MIPS final score, please contact the Quality Payment Program by:

  • Thursday, August 02, 2018 1:49 PM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    Please see flyer for a webinar sponsored by the Chief Medical Officers of CMS Regions VII, IX, and X to discuss the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Year 3 of the Quality Payment Program. You can click here to register:


    Flyer: QPP Webinar Invitation2.pdf

  • Thursday, August 02, 2018 11:22 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    Wednesday, August 22 from 1:30 to 3 pm

    Register for Medicare Learning Network events.

    Proposed changes to the CY 2019 Physician Fee Schedule would increase the amount of time doctors and other clinicians spend with their patients by reducing the burden of Medicare paperwork.  During this listening session, CMS experts will briefly cover three provisions from the proposed rule and address your clarifying questions to help you formulate your written comments for formal submission:

    • Streamlining Evaluation and Management (E/M) payment and reducing clinician burden
    • Advancing virtual care
    • Continuing to improve the Quality Payment Program to reduce clinician burden, focus on outcomes, and promote interoperability

    We encourage you to review the proposed rule prior to the call, as well as the following materials on the provisions to be covered:

    Note: Feedback received during this listening session will not be considered formal comments on the rule. See the proposed rule for information on submitting these comments by September 10, 2018.

    Target Audience: Medicare Part B fee-for-service clinicians; office managers and administrators; state and national associations that represent healthcare providers; and other stakeholders.
  • Tuesday, July 31, 2018 9:54 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    CMS will be hosting a webinar to present the benefits of using the MSPRP, this will include newly available features. The webinar will be held August 16, 2018. The notice for the webinar is available in the Downloads section of the Coordination of Benefits Overview What’s New page on CMS.gov and includes all webinar information

  • Tuesday, July 31, 2018 9:50 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    NCQA updates the NYS PCMH publication annually to clarify guidance and refine criteria expectations. Download the NYS PCMH Standards and Guidelines (2017 Edition, Version 3) to review.

    Highlights of the update include:

    • Organizations with two or more sites are now allowed to share or partially share an additional 21 criteria across practice sites, saving time and reducing documentation.
    • Updates to guidance language for clarity of criteria.
    • Updated selected concept and competency descriptions to align with criteria included in the concepts and competencies.

    Summary of Changes to PCMH Standards and Guidelines

    Practices may share evidence for these criteria:

    KM 02-KM 05

    AC 05

    CC 01

    CC 02

    CC 04

    CC 10

    CC 14-CC 16

    CC 18

    CC 19

    QI 15

    QI 16

    BH 02





    CM 04-CM 08

    Practices may share examples for CM 04-CM 08, although each site must still provide a Record Review Workbook.

    QI 06

    Practices must provide site-specific evidence for QI 06.

    TC 01, TC 04

    Clarified requirements for these criteria.

    TC 03

    Removed the reference to health information exchanges (HIE).

    Updated guidance to clarify that participating in an ACO or clinically integrated network does not meet this criterion.

    TC 09

    Clarified the criterion language to require practices to periodically remind patients of the roles and responsibilities of the medical home.

    CM 05

    Clarified criterion language to require practices to give written care plans to patients electronically or as a printed document.

    CC 09/BH 05

    Removed text: "The practice must provide a report, log or electronic tracking system as evidence of implementation."

    CC 14

    Updated evidence from "Report" to "Evidence of implementation."

    CC 16

    Evidence updated from "Evidence of follow-up" to "Evidence of implementation." 

    CC 18-CC 19

    Removed the requirement for practices to provide at least three examples of data exchange (CC 18) and obtaining discharge summaries (CC 19).

    QI 07

    Clarified the criteria's language and guidance to further differentiate between QI 05 and QI 07.

    QI 10

    Clarified the criterion language to state that practices that have met their appointment availability access goals may focus on improvement in another patient-access area.

    QI 15-QI 16

    Modified criteria language to clarify that practices may report clinician-level data or practice-level data.

    Summary of Changes to NYS PCMH Policies and Procedures

    • Rearranged and updated portions of the Overview section for clarity.
    • Updated the Commit, Transform and Succeed sections to align with changes to the Q-PASS process.
    • Added a section describing the role of the prevalidated vendor and NCQA investigation.
    • Expanded the Reportable Events Policy to clarify when and how to inform NCQA of reportable events such as mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and investigations.

    Thank you for your ongoing commitment to delivering high-quality, patient-centered care. If you have questions, submit them through My NCQA.

  • Friday, July 27, 2018 11:52 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    In case you missed it last week, see below for a link to the webcast of the panel discussion on Evaluation & Management Coding:

    • Title: CMS Panel Discussion on E/M Coding Reform
    Link: https://youtu.be/W2QBTQNxfSY
  • Friday, July 27, 2018 11:51 AM | Carol Burke (Administrator)

    CMS is hosting a series of webinars on the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Performance Categories for Year 2 (2018) of the Quality Payment Program. The webinars will provide an overview of the Improvement Activities and Quality performance categories for Year 2 (2018). CMS subject matter experts will cover topics including category requirements, scoring details, and data submission mechanisms.

    Below are details for the following webinars and how to register:

    MIPS Improvement Activities Performance Category for Year 2 (2018) Overview Webinar

    MIPS Quality Performance Category for Year 2 (2018) Overview Webinar

    The audio portion of these webinars will be broadcast through the web. You can listen to the presentation through your computer speakers. CMS will open the phone line for the Q&A portion, but if you are unable to hear audio through your computer speakers, please contact CMSQualityTeam@ketchum.com.
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