Free Resource for Family Physicians

Dive into AAFP's 2017 MIPS Playbook, Earn Free CME

August 23, 2017 10:35 am Sheri Porter

The AAFP has just released a vital resource for family physicians who want to learn how to successfully participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of CMS' Quality Payment Program.  

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The resource, titled "2017 MIPS Playbook: Making Sense of MACRA,"(3 MB PDF) is available free of charge to all AAFP members and is approved for up to 5.0 AAFP Prescribed credits.

Playbook Overview

Co-author and family physician Amy Mullins, M.D., the AAFP's medical director of quality improvement, told AAFP News that the playbook was created "to give members a step-by-step guide to understanding and reporting for MIPS."

The resource gives those physicians just getting started a solid background on the program before digging deeper into the four MIPS performance categories of quality, cost, improvement activities and advancing care information.  

Story Highlights
  • The AAFP has created a new resource just for family physicians to help them get ready to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
  • The "2017 MIPS Playbook: Making Sense of MACRA" is free to AAFP members and is approved for up to 5.0 AAFP Prescribed credits.
  • The playbook guides family physicians through the four MIPS performance categories -- quality, cost, improvement activities and advancing care information -- and shows physicians how to maximize their score.  

The combined scoring on those four reporting requirements will determine a physician's final MIPS score. And importantly, that final score will impact a physician's Medicare payment in the future.

"The playbook is intended to guide family physicians through each category and then help them maximize their score," said Mullins. It is divided into one- to two-page chapters that cover individual topics and includes links that take users straight to the resources referenced.

Mullins urged family physicians to use checklists in the resource -- one created for physicians in small, independent practices (one to fifteen physicians) and one for those in employed or large group practices.

The checklists "will help members navigate the playbook and ensure that all the needed steps are taken for successful participation in MIPS," said Mullins.

Although the playbook covers a lot of territory in its 48 pages, the comprehensive details will aid physicians in all stages of preparation.

"If a member needs help with quality, they can read that section as a stand-alone piece, and the same with cost, advancing care information or improvement activities," said Mullins. "We hope the playbook will meet members where they are in their knowledge of MIPS and help them progress to where they want and need to be," she added.

Follow Six Steps to Success

The playbook divides each activity into specific steps physicians need to take to reach their MIPS destination. Those six steps, in the order they should be considered, are

  • pick your pace in the 2017 transition year,
  • choose a reporting method,
  • select quality measures,
  • pick improvement activities measures,
  • choose advancing care information (ACI) measures and
  • build the MIPS final score.

Authors provide detailed information as to how physicians proceed with each step. For instance, they list six possible reporting methods and then tick off the advantages, disadvantages and points to consider for each.

Look for easy-to-find highlight boxes sprinkled throughout the playbook that spell out key points for physicians to keep in mind as they work their way through the MIPS materials. For example, when selecting improvement activities measures, physicians are reminded that

  • practices certified as a patient-centered medical home automatically receive full credit in this category,
  • improvement activities must be carried out for 90 consecutive days, and
  • improvement activities that utilize certified electronic health record technology functionalities will earn bonus points and help maximize the ACI score.

The playbook uses examples and scenarios to show how MIPS scoring works and directs readers to online resources for additional information.

Get Moving

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 established the Quality Payment Program and its two new Medicare payment tracks -- MIPS and advanced alternative payment models

There's a lot for physicians to learn, and the clock is ticking, said Mullins.

She urged family physicians to take advantage of a resource that was created just for them.

"The MIPS playbook can give physicians the knowledge they need to move forward with confidence as they prepare their practices for the value-based payment that's coming," said Mullins.

Related AAFP News Coverage
MACRA: The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act

More From AAFP
MACRA Ready: The Shift to Value-Based Payment

Additional Resource
CMS Quality Payment Program(www.QPP.CMS.gov)