Several hundred large group practices are in danger of having all Medicare payments cut by 1% in 2015 unless they act now to sign up for group participation in PQRS. CMS has extended the deadline to register in Administrative Claims from 10/15 to 10/18. AMA and organized medicine are continuing to advocate for a longer extension, but it may not happen due to the government shutdown.
In the Affordable Care Act, Congress required CMS to apply a Value-Based Modifier (VBM) to all physicians’ Medicare payments by 2017 and to some physicians’ payment starting in 2015. In response, CMS intends to apply a 1% VBM penalty to the Medicare payments of physicians in groups of 100 or more that did not engage in GROUP participation in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2013. This VBM penalty would be in addition to another 1.5% penalty that would apply to all physicians who did not participate in PQRS either as an individual or as part of a group.
To avoid these penalties, physicians in groups of 100 or more should ensure that their group is registered for one of the PQRS group participation options. Physicians who are not subject to VBM and are not yet participating in PQRS can still avoid the 2015 payment cut by registering for the CMS-calculated administrative claims reporting mechanism in 2013. The PQRS registration system, which will close on 10/18, can be accessed at https://portal.cms.gov. Use of the system requires an Individuals Authorized Access to the CMS Computer Services (IACS) number, which can be acquired at https://applications.cms.hhs.gov.
Please note that due to the government shutdown, CMS is unable to update the 10/15 date listed on their website. Additionally, please note the help desk phone number listed in error messages on the PQRS registration portal is incorrect. Users should call the PV-PQRS Help Desk at (888) 734-6433, Option 3, for questions about registration or contact CMS’ QualityNet help desk at (866) 288-8912.