March 2014
Federal CMS: Use new PQRS interactive timeline to prepare for milestones
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wants to make sure eligible professionals (EPs) or group practices participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) are prepared for the many important program milestones that are approaching.

To help you navigate these program deadlines, the federal CMS has released a new PQRS interactive timeline that will help identify key program dates for PQRS between 2014 and 2016, and direct you to related resources. CMS highlights the important dates for 2014.

March 21, 2014March 31, 2014Sept. 30, 2014
  • Last day for groups to register to participate in the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) for the 2014 PQRS program year via Web Interface, registry, EHR reporting, or CAHPS reporting methods
Nov. 1, 2014
  • EPs who participated in the 2013 PQRS program can begin requesting an informal review of their 2013 PQRS results
Dec. 31, 2014
  • Reporting for the 2014 PQRS program year ends for both group practices and individuals
Click here to go to the Resources page of the PQRS website, where you'll find the interactive timeline and other helpful information.

It's that time of year again:
Fill out the CMGMA 2014 Salary Survey
The Colorado Medical Society and component medical societies including Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert counties; Aurora-Adams County; Boulder County; Clear Creek; Denver; El Paso County; and Mesa County have partnered with the Colorado Medical Group Management Association (CMGMA) again this year to bring you the 2014 Colorado Healthcare Staff Salary Survey. This survey is a continuation of the previous Salary Survey that has been conducted by the CMGMA, CMS and component medical societies across the state for over a decade and will be produced this year by CheckPoint. Continued financial support of the surveys is provided by COPIC Insurance and Colorado Business Bank.

To make these surveys successful, we need your help! These surveys are designed specifically for Colorado medical practices, and your participation is key to our success. Our goal is to accumulate data from all the geographical regions in Colorado and then report the data based on these regions.

The Salary Survey tool is online at www.checkpoint.cmgma.com. This link will take you to a login page but please note that the survey is open to everyone. CMGMA members can log in as usual and complete the survey. Non-CMGMA members can click on the New User link below Member login to sign up to take the survey.

The objective of this survey is to provide Colorado physicians, administrators, and managers with a useful resource that is representative of their local area to set salary and benefit levels within their practices. Having reports at your fingertips that contain salary and benefit benchmarks are critical tools to help practices be effective and competitive in the marketplace.
  • Please fill out the questions completely and accurately, as quality data is essential to the process.
  • Your completed questionnaire is due by Friday, April 18, 2014 and the report will be available in June 2014.
  • There will be a couple of drawings again this year from all responses received as of that date for a Visa gift card, so be sure to return your questionnaire early and have more chances to win!
  • All participating practices will receive a FREE copy of the 2014 Staff Salary Survey Report. This report is also available for purchase.
If you have any questions about the survey content itself please contact Eric Speer, chair of the CMGMA Survey Committee at (719) 265-3737 or espeer@dublinprimarycare.com. We appreciate your time, and value your participation.

Volunteer before March 24 to participate in Medicare ICD-10 Testing
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will conduct end-to-end testing with a limited number of health care providers of varying sizes and types, including physician practices. The testing will take place July 21-25. Testing will be done on the full claims process from submission of the claim to Medicare through to receipt of the remittance advice by the physician.

The following are details you need to know to register to participate in this testing.
  • Interested physicians need to register with their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which is Novitas in Colorado. Click here to access Novitas' volunteer form. Completed forms must be submitted by March 24.
  • By April 14, MACs will notify the physicians and other providers that have been selected for the testing. Only 32 physicians and other providers will be selected by each MAC.
  • Testing will be completed July 21-25. MACs will provide the testers with the specific details for how to complete the testing. Physicians can submit a total of 50 claims.
The federal CMS requests that physicians interested in participating in the end-to-end testing have their ICD-10 updated software in place and internal testing completed prior to the July dates. The intent of testing is to ensure that your systems and workflow process that have been updated for ICD-10 are functioning correctly.

Click here to read more on the end-to-end testing in a Medicare Learning Network article.

Click here to go to the ICD-10 section of the AMA's website to access a tip sheet and fact sheet on testing under the AMA Educational Resources heading.

And, as always, visit the Colorado ICD-10 Training Coalition website at www.cms.org/icd-10 to access webinars on demand, checklists, worksheets and more.

ICD-10 won't be delayed, practices must prepare now
Don't count on another delay of ICD-10, said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a Modern Healthcare article. Providers, payers and claims clearinghouses must be ready for the Oct. 1, 2014 nationwide conversation to the ICD-10 family of diagnostic and procedural codes.

Colorado ICD-10 Training Coalition member Denny Flint, CEO of Complete Practice Resources, wrote an article about his frustrations with practices who haven't yet started their transition to ICD-10. During two conference speaking engagements in late February he surveyed both rooms, about 350 physicians total, asking how many had actively started work on their ICD-10 transition. Only five hands were raised. "I don't know what I have to do to get people to understand what a massive undertaking this is," he said.

Practices cannot rely on your EHR vendors to handle this transition, he said. Many of the vendors with which he has spoken have said they are busy with Meaningful Use state 2 objectives and haven't started on ICD-10, and he hasn't heard of any actively training providers on documentation requirements.

The time to start is now, he said. The federal CMS commissioned a study that said ICD-10 transitions take 18 to 20 months. Practices currently have less than seven months until the deadline with more time slipping away each day.

CMS to provide some exemptions for Meaningful Use Stage 2
Similar to ICD-10, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said there will be no rollback of compliance dates for Meaningful Use Stage 2, despite considerable pressure being applied to the agency to further delay compliance dates and add flexibility to its requirements to meet meaningful-use measures.

For eligible hospitals, the starting date for Stage 2 was Oct. 1, 2013. Those hospitals have only two starting dates left in the program, which operates on a fiscal year, to commence 90 consecutive days of meeting the meaningful-use criteria: April 1 and July 1, 2014. Physicians and other eligible professionals, whose EHR incentive programs operate on the calendar year, have a bit more time and three dates-the first days of April, July and October-to start their 90-day clocks.

Tavenner acknowledged that some providers and health IT vendors may have legitimate issues that might preclude them from achieving timely compliance with Stage 2. In those instances she said the federal CMS may grant hardship exemptions. But even with an exemption CMS expects all Stage 2 providers to fully meet all Stage 2 criteria by 2015 and encourages everyone else eligible to meet them this year.

Click here for more information.
In This Issue
Events

RT Welter & Associates ICD-10 Coder Academy


June 11-13 in Thornton

Click here for more information and to register. Colorado ICD-10 Coalition members can receive a $50 discount off the Coder Academy registration fee. Simply print the registration form, write "Colorado ICD-10 Coalition Member" on it and return through the instructions at the top of the form.


Colorado Medical Group Management Association


March, April, May - Three-part series on LEAN for Private Physician Practices, Kearin Schulte

CMGMA webinars are free for active CMGMA members, $50 for non-members. Click here for more information on the CMGMA website.


Submit your event by e-mailing marilyn_rissmiller@cms.org.


Resource: AMA Point-of-Care Pricing Toolkit

Learn how to use electronic health care transactions, such as the electronic eligibility benefit inquiry and response transactions, to help facilitate point-of-care pricing and improve cash flow.

The AMA Point-of-Care Pricing Toolkit will walk you through the process so your practice can start collecting from patients at the time of service. You can also learn more about electronic eligibility verification. Click here to access the AMA's toolkit and more.


Tip from Novitas: Check the status of your enrollment application

Novitas has a Provider Enrollment Status Inquiry Tool that provides the status history of all Part A and Part B Internet-based Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) or paper submitted CMS 855/588 (EFT) applications. Using the dropdown menu in the field next to "Select," you have the ability search using the following criteria:
  • Document Control Number (DCN)
  • National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • Internet based PECOS Tracking ID Number
  • Legal Business Name
  • First/Last Name
Click here to check the status of an application.


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