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HomeInsights Blog

Cybersecurity and Working Virtually During the Pandemic

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, practices started transitioning staff to work from home.  Those now working virtually include administrators, clinical staff, schedulers and billing staff. Have you ensured that your patient data is not at risk? 

ION Solutions’ Spring Events Postponed

The health and wellbeing of our customers, partners, and staff is of the utmost importance to us. As an active participant in the pharmaceutical supply chain, AmerisourceBergen, ION Solutions, and Oncology Supply have been highly engaged with health officials during the ongoing spread of novel COVID-19. At this time, in continuing to contribute to global efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, we feel that it is in everyone’s best interest to indefinitely postpone ION Solutions’ planned spring events.

What Oncologists Need to Know About USP <800> and the Recent Clarification

Patients with cancer across the country rely on community oncology practices to provide them with high-quality, coordinated cancer care. This critical care is made possible by dedicated physicians and clinical staff. Unfortunately, oncologists and clinical staff make up part of the 8 million healthcare workers in the United States who may be exposed to hazardous drugs every year. According to past studies, mishandling hazardous drugs can cause acute and chronic health effects, such as rashes, reproductive issues, and even cancer. Therefore, it is crucial that throughout the care process, oncology practices prioritize safety for their staff and patients.

MIPS 2020 Final Rule: MIPS Value Pathways

The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Value Pathways is a participation framework for MIPS that is set to begin with the 2021 Performance Period. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the goal is “to move away from siloed activities and measures and move toward an aligned set of measure options more relevant to a clinician’s scope of practice that is meaningful to patient care."

MIPS 2020 Final Rule: Promoting Interoperability Category

The Promoting Interoperability category is aimed at promoting patient engagement and the electronic exchange of information through CEHRT (certified electronic health record technology). Practices and eligible clinicians reporting for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) must report a minimum of 90 days for this category, although longer periods, including a full year, can be submitted.

MIPS 2020 Final Rule: Improvement Activities

The Improvement Activities (IA) category remains at 15 percent of the total MIPS score.
In activity weights, the medium activity weights are worth 10 points, and the higher activities are worth 20 points. If your practice or eligible clinicians qualify for a special status this year, the medium activity weights are worth 20 points and the high activity points are worth 40. The special status is typically for clinicians in small, rural and underserved practices, or with non-patient facing clinicians or groups.

MIPS 2020 Final Rule: Cost Category

The Cost category for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reporting seems to be the most confusing, with questions coming from practices throughout the year. The questions will continue as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made the most changes to this category for the 2020 Final Rule.
CMS did keep the Cost category weight of the total performance score at 15 percent instead of the proposed 20 percent, but the category will reweight to 30 percent for the 2022 performance year, as MACRA law mandates that percentage by that year.

MIPS 2020 Final Rule: Quality

As practices move into 2020, reporting on MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) or not reporting can make a significant difference in reimbursements. To do nothing and not report on any measures can mean a 9.0 percent penalty in Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payment adjustments for the 2020 reporting year. That +/- 9 percent will remain in effect for each year going forward, according to CMS.

For that reason, the Quality Reporting Engagement Group strongly advises you to report your data to earn a performance score. Even performance scores that just meet the minimum thresholds can avoid a downward adjustment.

Each year CMS adjusts the performance categories. We will address the four categories over a few blogs.

HICN Use Discontinued - Practices Must use MBI for Medicare Reimbursement

For the past 21 months, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued MBIs (Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers) to Medicare recipients, replacing the HICN – Health Insurance Claim Number.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) required CMS to remove Social Security numbers (SSN) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS replaced the HICN with a new, randomly generated MBI.

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