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Small Practice Spotlight - Hematology & Oncology Associates of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Thursday, February 04 2021

Hematology & Oncology Associates of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a seven-physician specialty group located in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, dedicated to caring for patients with cancer and blood disorders. Alice Hopkins, the practice administrator, shared her practice’s experience participating in MIPS and how the team overcame obstacles, including limited measures in their electronic health record (EHR) and high patient costs. While the COVID-19 pandemic became the practice’s priorty,  the practice has continued to collect MIPS measure data thanks to its pre-existing workflows, CMS telehealth billing resources, and help from their Technical Assistance (TA) Contractor. Below are some tips from Alice on how to succeed in MIPS as a specialty practice.

Understand your MIPS measures and the capacity of your EHR

When Alice checked her team’s progress on their selected MIPS measures in performance year 2020, she found they were still performing relatively well despite COVID-19 thanks to the workflow processes that the practice established in previous years. The practice continues to capture data from active oncology patients through their EHR, an oncology-specific software that reports select MIPS measures. While it can be a challenge for her specialty practice to find relevant measures, they are currently tracking the following quality measures:

  • Cervical cancer screening (Quality ID: 309)
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening (Quality ID: 113)
  • Oncology: Medical and Radiation – Pain Intensity Quantified (Quality ID: 143)
  • Closing the Referral Loop: Receipt of Specialist Report (Quality ID: 374)
  • Controlling High Blood Pressure (Quality ID: 236)
  • Use of High-Risk Medications in the Elderly (Quality ID: 238)
  • Tobacco Use: Screening and Cessation Intervention (Quality ID: 226)

Help reduce the “fear factor” associated with telehealth

Alice admitted that it took both providers and patients some time to get accustomed to telehealth visits, but once the program was established and providers grew more comfortable with administering telehealth appointments, the program became more successful. Recently, one provider successfully walked an 87-year-old patient through the process of setting up audio and video for an appointment. Outreach to family members and caregivers who can assist may be necessary to ensure the telehealth visit is successful.

Consider prescribing less expensive therapeutic equivalents when possible

Alice shared that one of the biggest MIPS challenges for her practice was related to the Cost performance category. It can be costly to treat oncology patients, but the practice made a conscious effort to try and manage drug costs and began using biosimilars instead of more expensive biologics. While using less expensive therapeutic equivalents means lower reimbursement for the practice, it ultimately reduces the cost of care of the practice’s Medicare patients, which contributes positively to their MIPS performance.

If you are a small oncology practice, consider Alice’s tips for ways to succeed with MIPS reporting in 2021. For QPP/SURS TA Contractor help in Indiana, contact us at the Indiana QPP Help Desk.

By phone: 844-742-7771 (1-844-PHA-QPP1)

By email:

Writer: From the QPP for the Midwest and IMPAQ International , ,

Tags: Quality Services

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