What are they and why are they important?
Improvement Activities (IAs) are an important performance category within MIPS. In short, MIPS eligible clinicians who go above and beyond what is required to improve their clinical practice can now earn credit and possibly an incentive depending on their overall MIPS final score.
Who knew that referring your patients with chronic conditions to local health or nutritional support classes provided in their community could earn you MIPS points! Keep in mind, this is just one of 118 Improvement Activities you can chose from. This performance category is worth 15% of the overall MIPS final score and to earn full credit, you are required to submit a combination of activities that add up to 40 points. Activities are clearly marked “Medium” or “High”. Medium weighted activities are worth 10 points while high-weighted activities are worth 20 points and can select a combination of activities of your choice.
Selecting IA’s requires no cumbersome steps and is easy to execute per the steps below.
- Simply scroll through the list and stop if a particular title catches your attention.
- Read its description carefully and as you do, think about the type of supporting documentation that you can come up with that proves that you met the activity.
- If you can prove you met the activity, gather your supporting documentation and save it in a folder. We always recommend saving it in a hardcopy version such as a three-ring binder or as well as an in an electronic version of that folder. This will ensure that if selected for a MIPS audit, you will not panic.
You may asking what kind of supporting documentation should you save? This will vary depending on the description for each IA. Some examples are screenshots, special reports, or perhaps you have to write policies and procedures for a certain process that your staff should follow.
You shouldn’t struggle with this step. However, it’s important to put yourself in the auditor’s shoes and ask yourself if you would pass or fail a clinician who provided to you the supporting documentation that you come up with. Go through the list and find yourself 40 points.
It gets better; if you are a clinician with a Special Status listed below, your points are doubled! That means that submitting just one high-weighted activity earns you 40 points!
- Small Practice
- Non-patient facing
- Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)
In a program where clinicians are scored against national benchmarks, it’s vital that you submit as many points as possible and that’s why we get surprised when clinicians forget to select Improvement Activities. If anything, these should be the easiest MIPS points you earn and are low-hanging fruit so jump on it! Here’s a recap of the three simple steps.
- Select Improvement Activities from the QPP website.
- Collect and save any supporting documentation that proves you completed the selected IAs.
- During your MIPS attestation, find each selected IA and click “Yes”.
Remember to save your supporting documentation for a minimum of six years because you can be selected for an audit up to six years later! For the full list of Improvement Activities for 2019 visit the QPP website at https://qpp.cms.gov/mips/explore-measures/improvement-activities?py=2019#measures.
Did you know that Kareo has a team of MACRA dedicated specialists ready to help troubleshoot and answer your questions? The dedicated MACRA team can be reached by calling the Kareo support line 888-775-2736. This service is free of charge for practices using Kareo Clinical.
Are you up to date on the MIPS 2019 updates? The new MACRA/MIPS/APM 2019 live training series began mid-April and you can register here: https://helpme.kareo.com/Clinical/Kareo_Clinical_Training
It’s okay to need an extra hand when it comes to trying to understand MACRA and other CMS Incentive Programs. Kareo is here to help and our customers have access to one-on-one consulting via our Professional Services. Please feel free to reach out to our team for questions about pricing or any other MACRA and CMS related topics you need help on.