Can your MIPS score hurt your reputation?

Are you planning to report the minimal amount of Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) data in 2017 to avoid a penalty – rather than fully participating in an effort to receive a MIPS bonus? If so, you’re not alone, but if you’re concerned about your online reputation you may want to rethink that strategy.

The reason? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be publishing physicians’ MIPS scores on their Physician Compare website. They will also be sharing this data with other third-party rating sites, such as Yelp and Healthgrades. The bottom line is that patients will see your MIPS score – without any context. They won’t know if you were purposely reporting minimal data to avoid a penalty; all they will see is a low score.

So how to balance the cost and effort associated with getting a good MIPS score vs. the potential downside of a low score?

Something else to consider is that MIPS scores will follow you from one organization to another. Since your MIPS score directly impacts your future Medicare payment, it may affect career opportunities, potential practice mergers, insurance contracts and more.

In the final analysis, it is impossible to predict how much a low MIPS score will affect you in the first year of reporting, how many doctors will choose the minimal reporting option, or how many consumers will look at the data. It is also uncertain if modifications will be made to MIPS for future years. 

So how to balance the cost and effort associated with getting a good MIPS score vs. the potential downside of a low score? If you are planning to do the bare minimum in 2017 to avoid a MIPS penalty, you may want to consider reporting additional data to lift your score. Or start planning this year to fully participate in 2018.

CMS has terrific free resources that can walk you through MIPS reporting. Small practices (15 or fewer clinicians) can get free personalized assistance to help them select and report appropriate measures and activities to satisfy the requirements of each MIPS performance category. The initial feedback from practices using these resources has been very positive, so we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Larger practices (16+ clinicians) can get free assistance through Quality Innovation Networks – Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs). QIN-QIOs provide customized technical assistance and one-on-one help. In addition, the CMS Quality Payment Program website has a wealth of resources.

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