COVID-19 regulatory updates for the week of June 26 are below, and include news from CMS and HHS.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing providers the option to partially or completely opt-out of all four performance categories of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Quality Payment Program (QPP) for performance year 2020. By completing a hardship exemption application, providers will be held harmless from a payment adjustment in 2022. For information about the impact of COVID-19 on QPP participation, see the Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response fact sheet.
CMS has created a new Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to reduce regulatory and administrative burden both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new office is an outgrowth of the agency’s Patients over Paperwork (PoP) Initiative to further the goal of putting patients first.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced the selection of the Morehouse School of Medicine as the awardee for a new $40 million initiative to fight COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority, rural and socially vulnerable communities. The Morehouse School of Medicine will enter into a cooperative agreement with OMH to lead the initiative to coordinate a strategic network of national, state, territorial, tribal and local organizations to deliver COVID-19-related information to communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
CMS is calling for a renewed national commitment to value-based care based on Medicare claims data that provides an early snapshot of the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the Medicare population. The new data released includes the total number of reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries between Jan. 1 and May 16, 2020. The snapshot breaks down COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for Medicare beneficiaries by state, race/ethnicity, age, gender, dual eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, and urban/rural locations.