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CMS Postpones MIPS Deadline, Grants Exclusions Due to COVID-19 Crisis

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ST. LOUIS—Optometrists participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) will get a reprieve from some Quality Payment Program (QPP) deadlines and requirements to help facilitate the health care system's response to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, according to an announcement posted on the American Optometric Association’s website. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on March 22 that the 2019 MIPS data submission deadline will be extended 30 days to April 30, 2020.

Doctors who already submitted MIPS data or those submitting before April 30 will be scored and receive a MIPS payment adjustment based on submitted data. Consequently, doctors wishing to submit data and be scored can take advantage of AOA resources and guidance on MIPS participation.

Additionally, any MIPS eligible clinicians who have not submitted any data by April 30, 2020, will qualify for the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy and will not be penalized (doctors will receive a neutral payment adjustment) for the 2021 MIPS payment year.

This latest decision to extend MIPS deadlines and requirements comes after the AOA sought an extension from CMS on March 16. The CMS notes it continues to evaluate options for providing relief around participation and data submission for 2020.

Doctors can attest through AOA MORE (Measures and Outcomes Registry for Eyecare) or by using the QPP website. Specifically, practices choosing to report through AOA MORE must complete the attestation steps within AOA MORE by 5:00 p.m. ET, so their data can be submitted and meet CMS' 8:00 p.m. ET deadline on April 30. Doctors should confirm their participation status to determine if they are required to submit data.

To aid doctors and their staff members, AOA MORE is offering resources that will enable them to efficiently and successfully submit their data (six quality measures, improvement activities and promoting interoperability measures). Properly submitting the data protects members' Medicare reimbursements against penalties. AOA MORE resources include:

• The AOA MORE attestation portal where doctors and staff can log in and begin the process of submitting their data to CMS.
• An informative webinar about navigating the complex process that will be conducted on March 26 at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Additional information is available through the AOA MORE hotline at (314) 983-4270 or email the department at qualityimprovement@aoa.org. Step-by-step instructions for submitting quality MIPS data on the 2019 MIPS Reporting/Attestation is available through the AOA MORE webinar.