October 13, 2017
The election period is now open to form a virtual group for the 2018 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Performance Period. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 allows for the voluntary establishment of virtual groups for the purposes of participating in MIPS.
A provision in the MACRA legislation allows an individual clinician or a group practice consisting of not more than 10 MIPS eligible clinicians to form a virtual group with at least one other clinician or small group practice. The expectation is that virtual groups will help solo and small practices to leverage the benefits of group participation, reduce the administrative burden of participating in MIPS and help improve care coordination.
Virtual groups are not an option in 2017, the first year of the MIPS program. CMS proposed the establishment of virtual groups in the CY 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule. CMS took the unusual step of implementing the proposal prior to the release of the final rule which is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
To form a virtual group, CMS has proposed a two-stage virtual group election process:
For more information about joining or forming virtual groups, see the Virtual Groups Toolkit.