May 12, 2017
CMS statement on the House passage of the American Health Care Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4. CMS President Katie Lozano, MD, FACR, released the following statement in response.

"The House version is not likely to survive intact in the U.S. Senate, and it is impossible to speculate on what alterations will be made in the upper chamber at this early stage. The Colorado Medical Society informed the Colorado congressional delegation that it remains steadfastly committed to the principle of assuring the highest possible levels of coverage and access to care for our patients. In short, our position with our congressional delegation is to 'first do no harm.' By that we mean we oppose any effort to roll back coverage or compromise our ability to assure that our patients can get the right care at the right time, place and value."
May-June Colorado Medicine explores federal health care reform
Since November, talk of federal health care reform has been rampant. Things cooled when Congress pulled the "repeal-and-replace" bill from vote but, as of last week, it's back on the table with amendments. The May-June issue of Colorado Medicine dives into this complex issue, taking readers through the situation at the federal and state level, member survey results and perspectives, what the first AHCA debate taught us, what our Colorado senators are saying, and how CMS has approached health care reform over the past decade. Get your sneak peek at the latest Colorado Medicine through the virtual issue and jump into the discussion on www.cms.org.
8 ways to know if you should participate in the Quality Payment Program
As you've heard, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is reviewing claims and letting practices know which clinicians should take part in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MIPS is an important part of the new Quality Payment Program (QPP)

During this first year as we move to the Quality Payment Program, the federal CMS is committed to working with clinicians to make the reporting and participation process easier. It's CMS' priority to further reduce burdensome requirements so that clinicians can deliver the best possible care to patients. 

Click here for 8 ways to know if you're included in the Quality Payment Program.
Colorado QPP Coalition office hours - May 23
Do you have questions about the Quality Payment Program (QPP) or how to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and don't know where to start? The Colorado QPP Coalition will host an open forum/office hours May 23 from 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. MST to help you!
 
Please join us to discuss the QPP Quality Performance Category. Learn how to select quality measures, identify benchmarks, utilize the Quality Resource and Utilization Report (QRUR) and understand how this category is scored toward your 2019 payment adjustment.  The last half-hour will be dedicated to open discussion and answering your questions. Register here.
Colorado QPP Coalition: May Fast Facts

The Colorado Quality Payment Program Coalition has published its second edition of 5 Fast Facts in 5 Minutes. The facts are developed by a coalition subcommittee based on feedback and recent updates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with the answers vetted with the agency.
 
Here are the questions for May:
  • When will I receive my letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicating clinician eligibility for the Quality Payment Program?
  • Is there information available that is specific to clinicians that are in small, rural or practices in underserved areas?
  • How do I choose and submit Improvement Activities for the Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track?
  • How do I register for group reporting using the CMS Web Interface?
  • Is there a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS ) specific to MIPS? 
Read the answers on www.cms.org/coqpp/fast-facts.
TMF Health Quality Institute provides support for small medical practices in QPP

TMF Health Quality Institute, a non-profit health care consulting company based in Austin, Texas, has been contracted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help small medical practices in generally underserved areas prepare for and participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP).
 
The QPP is a new approach to paying physicians and clinicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries, and it contains two tracks: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Models. Through MIPS, clinicians will be paid for providing medical care based on four performance categories: Quality, Advancing Care Information, Improvement Activities and Cost.
 
TMF provides technical assistance and support for practices in a region comprising Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas. This technical assistance brings support to thousands of MIPS-eligible clinicians in small practices with 15 or fewer clinicians, including small practices in rural locations, health professional shortage areas and medically underserved areas. The direct technical assistance is available immediately, free to all MIPS-eligible clinicians.  
 
For more information about QPP resources and technical support, please contact TMF to request free assistance by emailing [email protected].
ATTN CCVMS: special QPP meeting - May 17
MACRA - MIPS - APM - QPP - HELP! The Clear Creek Valley Medical Society is holding a special meeting with the Colorado Quality Payment Program Coalition to help CCVMS members and practice staff find the information and resources needed to understand and succeed in this new payment reality.
 
Join CCVMS on Wednesday, May 17 at noon to network with members of the CO QPP Coalition. Coalition members will help you wade through the tremendous amount of information available on Medicare Quality Payment Programs and connect you with free or low-cost technical assistance opportunities that are available for Colorado physician practices.  RSVP here.
Webinar: Payment reform for primary care - May 24
Primary care payment is changing. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will be conducting a live webinar on May 24 at noon to talk about the coming alternative payment methodology (APM). Learn how the new payment methodology will work and what you need to know and do.  Register here. If you are not able to join live, the webinar will be recorded and posted on the department's website here.
Open Payments review and dispute period ends May 15
May 15 is the last day to review and, if necessary, dispute data submitted by drug and device manufacturers detailing payments or transfers of value they made to physicians in 2016, as required under the Open Payments program. Open Payments is the national transparency program highlighting the financial relationships between physicians, teaching hospitals, and drug and device manufacturers. The review and dispute period is the only opportunity physician practices have to review and dispute the data before the information is published on CMS' Open Payments website. A physician may nominate an individual such as a practice executive to serve as an authorized representative and review Open Payments data on his or her behalf. Read more here.

Novitas has been asked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide stakeholders with information about an opportunity to review data from the Open Payments Federal Program. Click here to access an informational PDF. Any questions or concerns regarding this information should be directed to CMS Helpdesk at [email protected] or 1-855-326-8366.
New webpage for Colorado interChange "known issues"
Health First Colorado has been live with their new claims processing system for more than two months now. To date, they have processed over 7 million claims and have paid providers more than $1 billion. Their last financial cycle yielded $104.5 million in payments (58% of claims paid) and they now have 44,647 providers enrolled. As always, however, some issues persist. Health First has published a new Known Issues webpage so providers can check on the status of some of the widest spread known issues.
May is National Blood Pressure Education Month and May 17 is World Hypertension Day
Barely half of the nearly 86 million Americans with high blood pressure have it under control. And 16 percent of the people with high blood pressure are completely unaware that they have this symptomless "silent killer." Download the American Heart Association's toolkit for National Blood Pressure Education Month.
May is American Stroke Month
Most strokes are preventable, and a large percentage of the ones that happen are treatable with the right care, right away. It's a matter of knowing what to do, taking action and spreading the word. Click here for resources to promote American Stroke Month.
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