2020 MIPS exemptions for COVID-19, hurricanes and wildfires

| November 23, 2020

2020 MIPS exemptions for COVID-19, hurricanes and wildfires

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has enabled practices to completely opt out of MIPS for 2020 due to difficulties resulting from COVID-19, hurricanes and wildfires. Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exceptions are available for all of these emergencies, enabling practices to completely avoid a 2022 MIPS penalty.

Physicians can completely or partially opt out of MIPS for 2020 due to COVID-19. To get a COVID-19 exception and avoid a 2022 penalty, you must complete a MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Application by Dec. 31, 2020. Be sure to cite COVID-19 as the reason for your application.

MIPS participants impacted by Hurricane Laura or the California or Oregon wildfires will receive an automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exemption in 2020. This will result in a neutral payment adjustment in 2022, unless clinicians choose to submit data in two or more performance categories.

shot of hurricane from space

How do I Apply?

New for 2020: You must have a HCQIS Access Roles and Profile (HARP) account to complete and submit an exception application on behalf of yourself or another MIPS eligible clinician or group. For more information on HARP accounts, please download the QPP Access User Guide and refer to the Register for a HARP Account document.

Once you register for a HARP account:

  • Sign in to
  • Select Exceptions Applications on the left-hand navigation.
  • Select Add New Exception.
  • Select Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception.

For any questions, please contact the Quality Payment Program at 1-866-288-8292 or by e-mail at: