Emergency clinician participation and performance in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Merit-based Incentive Payment System

Acad Emerg Med. 2022 Jan;29(1):64-72. doi: 10.1111/acem.14373. Epub 2021 Sep 7.


Background: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is the largest national pay-for-performance program and the first to afford emergency clinicians unique financial incentives for quality measurement and improvement. With little known regarding its impact on emergency clinicians, we sought to describe participation in the MIPS and examine differences in performance scores and payment adjustments based on reporting affiliation and reporting strategy.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis using the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Experience Report data set. We categorized emergency clinicians by their reporting affiliation (individual, group, MIPS alternative payment model [APM]), MIPS performance scores, and Medicare Part B payment adjustments. We calculated performance scores for common quality measures contributing to the quality category score if reported through qualified clinical data registries (QCDRs) or claims-based reporting strategies.

Results: In 2018, a total of 59,828 emergency clinicians participated in the MIPS-1,246 (2.1%) reported as individuals, 43,404 (72.5%) reported as groups, and 15,178 (25.4%) reported within MIPS APMs. Clinicians reporting as individuals earned lower overall MIPS scores (median [interquartile range {IQR}] = 30.8 [15.0-48.2] points) than those reporting within groups (median [IQR] = 88.4 [49.3-100.0]) and MIPS APMs (median [IQR] = 100.0 [100.0-100.0]; p < 0.001) and more frequently incurred penalties with a negative payment adjustment. Emergency clinicians had higher measure scores if reporting QCDR or QPP non-emergency medicine specialty set measures.

Conclusions: Emergency clinician participation in national value-based programs is common, with one in four participating through MIPS APMs. Those employing specific strategies such as QCDR and group reporting received the highest MIPS scores and payment adjustments, emphasizing the role that reporting strategy and affiliation play in the quality of care.

Keywords: Merit-Based Incentive Payment System; payment; population health; qualified clinical data registry; quality measurement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Motivation*
  • Reimbursement, Incentive*
  • United States