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CMS Announces New Benchmarks for All 2021 MIPS Quality Measures


CMS MIPS 2021 Quality

On June 11, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they are modifying the benchmarks for nearly every 2021 MIPS Quality measure in light of an across-the-board error in the benchmarks posted earlier this year.

CMS states that it "is committed to transparency, data integrity and open communication," and that they have identified and corrected an error with the decile outputs affecting the 2021 historical quality measure benchmarks file (ZIP). This file contains the historical benchmarks for measures with a single performance rate and every measure in the file was impacted by the error. The correction caused the range of performance rates for a given decile to be shifted down one decile.

For example:

  • The range of performance rates that were previously identified for Decile 5 (eligible for 5 – 5.9 points) now show correctly as the range of performance rates for Decile 4 (eligible for 4 – 4.9 points).  
  • The range of performance rates that were previously identified for Decile 8 (eligible for 8 – 8.9 points) now show correctly as the range of performance rates for Decile 7 (eligible for 7 – 7.9 points).

Important Notes

  • Because this was an error in the CMS source material used by registries and other third party intermediaries, quality score estimates (calculated before CMS announced the error and it was able to be updated in third party systems) were incorrect.
  • We have checked with the following registries and tools and can confirm that the below benchmarks update statuses:
    • MIPS Estimator: Updated.
    • IRIS Registry: Will be updated by July 12, 2021.
    • DataDerm Registry: Benchmark update is still in progress.
    • Athena Registry: Updated.

Next Steps

  • Share this information with your practice colleagues.
  • If you use a registry not mentioned above, confirm whether they have updated their benchmarks.
  • Check your new estimated Quality score on the MIPS Estimator and in your registry.
  • MarsdenAdvisors clients: You Client Success Manager will notify you of any score updates in your regularly scheduled communications. Contact your Client Success Manager if you have questions about the impact this will have on your 2021 MIPS Reporting.

If you have any questions on this, let us know! 

Jessica Peterson

Written by Jessica Peterson

Jessica Peterson, MD, MPH is the Vice President of Health Policy at the consulting firm MarsdenAdvisors.

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