COVID-19 Relief for Clinicians Participating in the 2020 Quality Payment Program

By Policy and Advocacy Brief posted 07-07-2020 13:27


The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the 2020 reporting period for clinicians. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced relief for clinicians and groups participating in the 2020 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Clinicians and groups affected by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances may submit an Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception Application to re-weight any or all MIPS performance categories. The circumstances are defined as rare events outside of a clinician’s control and the control of the practicing facility. Such circumstances would:

  • Cause a clinician to be unable to collect necessary information to submit for a MIPS performance category;
  • Cause a clinician to be unable to submit information used to score a MIPS performance category for an extended period of time, and/or;
  • Impact a clinician’s normal processes affecting performance on cost measures and other administrative claims measures.

To learn more about the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstance policy, visit the CMS QPP Exceptions page.

Additionally, in April CMS added a new improvement activity for the 2020 performance period. The COVID-19 clinical trial improvement activity provides an opportunity for clinicians and groups to receive credit in MIPS for important COVID-19 work being done in United States. Credit for the new improvement activity can be received by MIPS-eligible clinicians if: 

  • A clinician participates in a COVID-19 clinical trial and the data is entered into a data platform for the study; or
  • A clinician participates in the care of COVID-19 patients submits clinical COVID-19 patient data to a clinical data registry for the purpose of future studies.

Clinicians may pair the COVID-19 clinical trials activity with existing participation in a 60-day or greater effort to support domestic or international humanitarian needs activity for full credit for the Improvement Activities performance category.

As COVID-19 evolves, CMS continues to provide guidance on the 2020 MIPS reporting year. The AUA will monitor and inform members and has resources available to assist. For additional information on COVID-19 or how it has impacted the QPP, visit the QPP COVID-19 Response webpage or review the COVID-19 Fact Sheet.