WASHINGTON, DC (March 24, 2020)--The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced over the weekend a series of relief measures for providers and clinicians when it comes to Medicare quality reporting to ease the strain of COVID-19 response.

“In granting these exceptions and extensions, CMS is supporting clinicians fighting Coronavirus on the front lines,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The Trump Administration is cutting bureaucratic red tape so the healthcare delivery system can direct its time and resources toward caring for patients.”

CMS is implementing additional extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy exceptions and extensions for upcoming measure reporting and data submission deadlines for the several programs, including: 

  • The Home Health Quality Reporting Program -- Data submission for the fourth quarter of 2019 (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2019) is now optional. Data from Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 (the first and second quarters of 2020) does not need to be submitted to CMS for purposes of complying with quality reporting program requirements. 
  • The Hospice Quality Reporting Program -- If the fourth quarter of 2019 data is submitted, it will be used to calculate 2019 performance and payment (where appropriate). Data from the Home Health and Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey from Jan. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2020 (the first through third quarters of 2020) does not need to be submitted to CMS. 
  • The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) -- MIPS-eligible clinicians who have not submitted any MIPS data by April 30, 2020 will qualify for the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy and will receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year. 

In a news release, CMS said: "CMS recognizes that quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance on measures such as cost, readmissions and patient experience during this time of emergency and seeks to hold organizations harmless for not submitting data during this period."

To see the full list of adjustments, go to the CMS website