2020 MIPS: Hardship exception available due to COVID-19
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced flexibilities for clinicians participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2020. Clinicians significantly impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency may submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances application to reweight any or all of the MIPS performance categories by logging into their HARP account at qpp.cms.gov. If a group practice or individual clinician submits 2020 MIPS data for one or more performance categories, that data submission will override an approved application on a category-by-category basis.
Updated PPP forgiveness guidance released
The Small Business Administration (SBA) released further guidance on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. The Interim Final Rule updates previous loan forgiveness guidance to reflect the changes made under the recently enacted Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. In the guidance, SBA clarifies that a borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application before the end of the covered period if he or she has used all the loan proceeds for which he or she is requesting forgiveness. For more information on the PPP, you can access MGMA’s recently updated resource.
CMS updates COVID-19 coverage FAQ
CMS released new FAQs regarding COVID-19 coverage issues included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. FFCRA requires insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without patient cost-sharing, but this new guidance clarifies that the requirement for coverage does not extend to tests conducted for general workplace health and safety (such as screening for employees to come back to work) or for any purposes not primarily intended for individualized diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 or another health condition.
New Medicare prior authorization requirements go into effect July 1 The Outpatient Prospective Payment System/Ambulatory Surgical Center Final Rule issued by CMS established nationwide prior authorization requirements for certain hospital outpatient department services. The following Medicare services will require prior authorization when provided on or after July 1, 2020:
· Botulinum toxin injections
· Vein ablationCMS is, however, removing HCPCS code 21235 (Obtaining ear cartilage for grafting) from the list of codes that require prior authorization as a condition of payment, as it is more commonly associated with procedures unrelated to rhinoplasty that are not likely to be cosmetic in nature. The full list of HCPCS codes requiring prior authorization is available here.