Practice Matters

News from Lola Butcher about health policy and practice management issues of importance to oncologists

Saturday, June 21, 2014

CMS’s PQRS Just Got Easier for Oncologists

Oncologists who have been avoiding the government’s Physician Quality Reporting System just lost their excuse for doing so.

 

Beginning this fall, oncology practices registered with the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative will be able to meet the government’s reporting requirements through QOPI. Even better, they will be able to use eQOPI, as the long-awaited ability to submit QOPI data electronically will be available.

 

“This is something we were intending to do anyway, but it’s been accelerated by probably a year,” because of QOPI’s new status with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said ASCO President Peter Yu, MD.

 

QOPI, launched in 2006, has grown to include more than 160 quality measures. The reporting system allows oncology practices to benchmark their performance against other practices and track their progress over time. More than 900 practices have submitted data to QOPI at least once.

 

CMS recently approved QOPI as a clinical data registry for PQRS reporting. That approval stems from the so-called “fiscal cliff” legislation Congress approved in 2013.

 

Heretofore, most oncologists and other physicians have eschewed PQRS participation on the grounds that submitting data was more of a hassle than the incremental pay bonus was worth. But the math starts going the other way next year; physicians who do not submit quality data to PQRS in 2014 will receive a 1.5 percent cut in their Medicare pay (scroll down to see the PQRS incentives and penalties table).