MIPS Flexibilities and Resources Available to Support Clinicians Responding to COVID-19

February 4, 2022
Policy Snapshot

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to provide relief where possible to clinicians responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). CMS is applying the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (EUC) policy to ALL individual MIPS-eligible clinicians for the 2021 performance year (PY).

The automatic EUC policy only applies to clinicians who are eligible to participate in MIPS as individuals. The automatic EUC policy doesn’t apply to groups, virtual groups, or Alternative Payment Model (APM) Entities.

Clinicians who are eligible to participate in MIPS as individuals do not need to take any action to have the automatic EUC policy applied to them. They’ll be automatically identified and will have all 4 MIPS performance categories reweighted to 0% and receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2023 MIPS payment year unless they (1) submit data in 2 or more performance categories, or (2) have a higher final score from group or APM Entity participation. 

For more information, please see the Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response Fact Sheet or visit the Quality Payment Program COVID-19 Response webpage on the QPP website.

Eligible Clinicians Can Still Take Advantage of SURS Support until February 15

Over the past 5 years, CMS has successfully implemented a technical assistance initiative for clinicians in small practices participating in the QPP known as the Small, Underserved, and Rural Support (SURS) initiative. This provides free, customized technical assistance to practices with 15 or fewer MIPS-eligible clinicians. CMS encourages small practices to take advantage of this initiative before it ends on February 15.

CMS is committed to providing continued support and educational resources for small, underserved, and rural practices participating in QPP. The Support for Small Practices page on the QPP website will provide updates and resources for small practices and a link to subscribe to the new SURS listserv. CMS encourages all small, underserved, and rural clinicians and their staffs to bookmark this page for easy access to updates and available resources.

MIPS Submission Resources Available

MIPS-eligible clinicians who participated in the 2021 performance year of QPP have until 8:00 PM ET on March 31 to submit their data. For those who are planning to submit data (i.e. those who do not have the auto EUC applied to them or who choose to submit data anyways), the following resources are available on the QPP Resource Library to assist with submission:

Additional resources will be posted to the Resource Library soon.

Contact the QPP Service Center

The QPP Service Center serves as a primary point of contact for questions and concerns about PY 2021 MIPS data submission. Connect with the Service Center at 1-866-288-8292 (TTY 1-877-715-6222) or via email at QPP@cms.hhs.gov Monday-Friday 8:00- 8 pm ET.

CMS is projecting an increase in volume of calls and emails between January and March 2022 due to the 2021 MIPS data submission period, which may result in longer wait times. We strongly recommend calling the Service Center during off-peak hours (8:00-10:00 AM ET OR 2:00-8:00 PM ET).

Learn More

Learn more about CMS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the agency continues to support clinicians by visiting the CMS website.