Deadlines Looming to Apply for MSSP: What You Need to Know

May 30, 2017 Seth Edwards

When it comes to the new physician payment system, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s (MACRA’s) Quality Payment Program (QPP), there’s one option that simplifies reporting and has less downside risk.

To date, most of the discussion around the QPP has focused on two primary reporting tracks that clinicians must select.

  1. The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
  2. Advanced alternative payment models (APMs)

However, what many don’t know is there’s a third option known as a MIPS-APM. This option provides incentives for a movement toward population health for organizations that are not prepared to assume the downside actuarial risk required to qualify for an Advanced APM. An example of a MIPS-APM with no downside risk is Track 1 of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

If you’re still analyzing your options for MACRA and participation in a Medicare accountable care organization (ACO), it is important and timely to understand the alignment across the various federal APM programs and MACRA.

This is especially true for providers choosing MSSP Track 1, as the deadline is May 31 at noon ET for sending a nonbinding Notice of Intent to Apply to join the program’s 2018 performance year (beginning Jan. 1, 2018). The notice of intent will leave the door open to applying, but it doesn’t obligate you to move forward. Instead, it leaves all options on the table as you consider your system’s MACRA strategy.

Participating in MSSP Track 1 provides significant reporting advantages under MACRA’s QPP. In addition, participation in an MSSP Track 1 MIPS-APM offers:

  • Access to unblinded and comprehensive claims data to assess performance;
  • The ability to better align with clinicians;
  • Certain fraud and abuse waivers that support care quality and coordination; and
  • The potential to earn shared savings payments with no downside risk.

Medicare ACOs provide opportunities to develop capabilities and gain experience managing value-based agreements that can be applied across all payers. With rapid growth in ACOs and other APMs, the continued development and expansion of payment models that support value-based care is inevitable. Providers and payers have made significant investments in these models, and they have been proven to save millions of dollars while improving quality.

It takes less than 30 minutes to fill out a Notice of Intent to Apply to join the MSSP, which is nonbinding. You’ll need to answer questions like:

  • What is your application type for the Jan. 1, 2018 program start date?
  • What is your ACO taxpayer identification number?
  • What type of ACO are you?
  • What is your ACO’s type of legal entity?

There’s still time but you must act soon. If you decide to apply to the program, you can only submit an application if you filled out a Notice of Intent to Apply. The deadline for this is tomorrow at noon ET!

The next important date to be aware of is the application deadline, which is July 31, 2017 at noon ET. Approvals or denials are notified in late fall. Hear from Banner Health Network about their journey to success in the MSSP, including the steps they took to apply.

For more details on how the MSSP aligns with MACRA, read our white paper.

Author information

Seth Edwards

Seth Edwards

Manager, federal affairs at Premier, Inc.

I’m the Principal Performance Partner of Population Health at Premier Inc. I support Premier’s Population Health Management Collaborative members in building shared savings and alternative payment model capabilities. When I’m not working you’ll find me watching Manchester City football club, playing guitar or reading non-fiction. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


The post Deadlines Looming to Apply for MSSP: What You Need to Know appeared first on Action For Better Healthcare.

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