CMS Invests Millions to Support Physicians Participating in the Quality Payment Program

Physicians in small practices will receive education and training to ensure success in the Quality Payment Program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently awarded $20 million to 11 organizations in order to ensure a successful Quality Payment Program. This award marks the first year of a 5-year program that provides training and education about the program for those in individual practices or those with 15 clinicians or fewer, according to a press release.

Over the next 4 years, CMS plans to award an additional $80 million to support organizations.

For this program, community-based organizations will provide training to small practices based in underserved regions, such as rural areas, health professional shortage areas, and medically underserved areas, according to CMS.

Clinicians will be able to access education and training resources that will be provided at no cost to eligible practices. The organizations will provide individualized assistance to the physicians from small practices to ensure their success in the Quality Payment Program.

The organizations will assist clinicians in choosing and reporting quality measures, and will support physicians with aspects of the program, such as change management, strategic planning, and assessing and optimizing health information technology, CMS reported.

This is just 1 part of an outreach effort to educate physicians about the Quality Payment Program, and to gather valuable feedback. Since the program’s final rule was released last October, thousands have received free training and education from CMS through webinars and presentations, according to the press release.

Additionally, clinicians participating in the program can receive in-person training to learn about the Merit-based Payment System and the Alternative Payment Model.

CMS also created a novel helpline for clinicians who are seeking guidance for the Quality Payment Program, according to the press release.

Previously, CMS launched an online tool to make navigating the Quality Payment Program easier for physician users. The tool automatically shares electronic data to the Medicare Quality Payment Program.

This tool is the first of many to be launched by CMS in order to decrease the burden on physicians, while supporting high quality care. CMS is updating the Quality Payment Program through the use of streamlined policy and improved technology options to ensure that Medicare is paying for the best care. The program reduces the reporting burden on physicians so they may focus their attention on patients rather than paperwork, according to CMS.

“Clinicians in small and rural practices are critical to serving the millions of Americans across the nation who rely on Medicare for their health care,” said Kate Goodrich, MD, CMS chief medical officer and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “Congress, through the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, recognized the importance of small practices and rural practices and provided the funding for this assistance, so clinicians in these practices can navigate the new program, while being able to focus on what matters most -- the needs of their patients.”