Physicians can opt out of 2020 MIPS with COVID hardship

The American Medical Association reports that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that physicians will have the option to opt-out completely or partially from the 2020 MIPS program by completing a hardship exemption application and indicating that it is due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Individual clinicians and group practices have until December 31, 2020 to complete the hardship application.

AMA explains that, “CMS plans on providing physicians with a couple of options on the hardship exemption application. For example, a practice may submit a hardship application and indicate that they do not want to be scored on Cost and Quality and have their score calculated based on just Promoting Interoperability and Improvement Activities. Alternatively, practices may submit a hardship application and opt-out of all four performance categories and be held harmless from a 2022 payment adjustment. Submitting any MIPS data to CMS will override the hardship exception application and physicians will be scored on their submission.”

AMA adds that it is “pleased CMS took [its] recommendation to create flexible reporting options in 2020 with the option to reweight any or all of the MIPS performance categories. The flexibilities should assist with allowing practices to focus their attention on caring for patients during the pandemic and reduce administrative burden. The AMA will continue to monitor the impact COVID-19 is having on practices and advocate to CMS for the appropriate relief and to ensure CMS liberally grants hardship requests due to the COVID-19 PHE.”

And AMA notes that CMS is reportedly will update the QPP.CMS.GOV (i.e., to reflect the new policy) in the next several weeks. The information that is currently on the website reflects the 2019 MIPS COVID-19 policy.