CMS Holds Physicians Harmless from MIPS Penalties in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2021

On Feb. 25, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will hold physicians harmless from up to nine percent MIPS penalties due to the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 public health emergency on physician practices’ performance in 2020.

The Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Hardship Exception policy will be automatically applied to ALL MIPS eligible clinicians who do not submit any MIPS data for the 2020 performance period and avoid a 2022 payment penalty. CMS also is reopening the hardship exception application for group practices, virtual groups, and alternative payment model entities who missed the previous 2020 deadline. The re-opened application deadline is March 31, 2021. Note, groups and eligible clinicians who submit data in at least two MIPS categories will override the hardship exception and be eligible to earn a bonus from the exceptional performance bonus pool or potentially be subject to a penalty. 

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