Oncologists who provide services that are paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) are likely familiar with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). For several years, successful submission of PQRS quality measures to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has resulted in a small bonus payment. More recently, CMS has implemented other reporting programs along with PQRS, including the Electronic Prescribing Program and the EHR [electronic health record] Incentive Program.
Uptake of these voluntary CMS programs has been fairly slow across eligible providers in the United States—including oncology providers—reflecting the time and resources required for successful participation. The CMS reporting programs are complex, and the criteria change annually. Consequently, many providers have evaluated the effort required and concluded that it is not worth pursuing the modest bonus.
Now, these CMS reporting programs are entering penalty phases, and participation implications should be carefully reconsidered. The first payment adjustment, a 1.5% decrease in PFS payment, will go into effect in 2013 for eligible providers who did not participate in the Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program in 2012. Perhaps more important, decisions regarding 2013 reporting will determine payment reductions in 2014 and 2015. Table 1 summarizes the implications of participation in CMS reporting programs in 2012 and 2013.
This article reviews eligibility and requirements for the PQRS program. Additional information about PQRS, e-Prescribing, and EHR Incentive programs can be found on the ASCO Web site at www.asco.org/CMSreporting.