Physicians in solo or small practices are potentially at a disadvantage when it comes to Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). They likely don’t generate enough patient data on their own to provide the significant statistics needed to fully participate in MIPS.
But the rules for the 2018 MIPS performance period include the optional ability for these physicians to create “virtual groups,” which allow them to pool their data and get on a more level playing field with larger group practices without the need to give up their independence.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says physicians have until Dec. 1 to formally notify Medicare that they have created and are participating in a virtual group.
As a reminder, CMS says a virtual group must combine two or more Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) for a performance period of a year. These can include:
To form a virtual group, physicians can take one of two paths:
The virtual group election should include:
For more information about joining or forming virtual groups, see the Virtual Groups Toolkit (third item down the page) available on the CMS web site. You can also contact the Quality Payment Program at QPP@cms.hhs.gov or 1-866-288-8292 (TTY: 1-877-715-6222).
– Kent Moore, Senior Strategist for Physician Payment for the American Academy of Family Physicians
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