The time and financial costs associated with participating in the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) are considerable, according to a study published online May 14 in JAMA Health Forum.
Dhruv Khullar, M.D., from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues examined the costs for independent physician practices to participate in MIPS in 2019 in a qualitative study. Time required and financial costs of participation in MIPS were calculated from responses to in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted from Dec. 12, 2019, to June 23, 2020.
The researchers found that for participation in MIPS, the mean cost to practices per physician was $12,811. Per physician, physicians, clinical staff, and administrative staff together spent 201.7 hours annually on MIPS-related activities. Together, medical assistants and nursing staff spent a mean of 99.2 hours per physician each year; frontline physicians, executive administrators, and other clinicians and staff spent 53.6, 28.6, and 20.3 hours, respectively. The greatest proportion of overall MIPS-related costs (54 percent) was accounted for by physician time.
“The attention of policy makers may be warranted to reduce the burden of the MIPS program, particularly given the uncertainty regarding whether it improves quality or outcomes for patients,” the authors write.