AARC Issues Comments on MIPS Measures

 Updated: July 25, 2016

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The AARC has just issued formal comments to CMS on the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) included in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Specifically, the Association is recommending that CMS include quality measures in MIPS that will improve the quality of life and health outcomes for chronic respiratory disease patients.

The AARC is particularly concerned that MIPS address the need for —

  • Spirometry testing in the diagnosis and management of COPD.
  • The assessment of sleep symptoms, positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy prescribed, and assessment of adherence to PAP therapy for patients with sleep apnea.
  • Flu immunization, pneumococcal vaccination, optimal asthma control, medication management for people with asthma, avoidance of inappropriate use of antibiotic treatment for adults with acute bronchitis, and appropriate treatment for children with upper respiratory infection.
  • Episode-based measures for respiratory conditions like COPD and asthma that are considered to be high cost, have high variability in resource use, or are subject to high impact outcomes.
  • Measures that cover improvements in quality of life scores and functional capacity for patients enrolled in pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
  • The addition of a Population Management activity that addresses accurate assessment and delivery of supplemental oxygen in accordance with evidence-based guidelines for patients with chronic lung disease in need of long-term oxygen therapy.
  • Waiving current telehealth restrictions, especially for those participating in the new MIPS payment system as Alternative Payment Models, and including respiratory therapists as telehealth/remote patient monitoring providers for those beneficiaries with specific at-risk chronic conditions such as COPD.

“We believe the new MIPS payment system expands opportunities for respiratory therapists to be chronic disease managers and to work outside of the acute care inpatient setting,” writes AARC President Frank Salvatore, MBA, RRT, FAARC. “With the incentives offered by the new Quality Payment System, respiratory therapists can be a valuable asset to the physician practices and Alternative Payment Models.