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Medicare Helps Doctors on Coronavirus Front Line by Extending Deadline for Quality Reporting

Published March 27, 2020

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the reporting deadline for the Medicare Quality Payment Program as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

What is the Medicare Quality Payment Program?

The Quality Payment Program is a reimbursement model that rewards health care providers for the quality of care they provide as opposed to the number of services rendered.

A round of data was due to be reported to the federal government by March 31, but that deadline has been extended to April 30 in order to allow doctors on the front lines of the outbreak to focus on patient care.

“In granting these exceptions and extensions, CMS is supporting clinicians fighting coronavirus on the front lines,” - CMS Administrator Seema Verma1

The data collected and reported during this time may not be reflective of a clinicians true level of performance concerning cost, readmissions and patient experience due to the extraordinary circumstances of the outbreak.  

How does Medicare’s action affect beneficiaries?

The decision was lauded by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Dr. Patrice Harris, President of the American Medical Association, said in a statement, “CMS’ decision to offer relief from the submission demands in the Quality Payment Program will be felt immediately. Doctors don’t have much time to breathe a sigh of relief, but if they did, they would take a moment to thank CMS for this wise decision.”

“Physicians on the front lines of this pandemic are grateful that CMS has eased Medicare reporting requirements, allowing clinicians to focus on patients. In the best of times, physician practices struggle to meet all the bureaucratic demands in the Medicare program. These are not the best of times.” - Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A.; President, American Medical Association2

Approximately 1.2 million clinicians participate in the Quality Payment Program. 

In addition to the reporting deadline extension, reporting for the April 30 data is now optional. Any eligible clinician who does not report will receive a neutral payment adjustment.