AMA-sponsored study on physician experiences with MIPS

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The following is a message from the American Medical Association:

The results of a study conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine that was sponsored by the AMA and the Physicians Foundation have now been published. Researchers conducted 30 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with physician leaders in small and medium internal medicine and general surgery practices and large multispecialty practices about their experiences participating in Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). An article published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine provides qualitative results of physicians’ experience with the program, while an article published in JAMA provides quantitative insights into the cost of participating in MIPS and MIPS APMs.

Among the interesting qualitative findings:

  • MIPS is viewed as a continuation of previous programs and a precursor of future programs;
  • Performance measures are more relevant to primary care practices than other specialties
  • Leaders are conflicted on whether the program improves patient care
  • Participation creates administrative burden, exacerbated by frequent programmatic changes
  • Incentives are small relative to the effort
  • External support for participation can be helpful

In terms of cost, researchers found:

  • Annual cost of participation is about $12,000 per physician
  • Annual time spent by clinicians and staff is about 200 hours per physician
  • Costs per physician were predictably higher for smaller practices and for APM participants