Quality & Practice

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)

Within the Quality Payment Program, there are 2 paths providers can choose and use to report quality data:


The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is the name of a new program that will determine Medicare payment adjustments. Using a composite performance score, eligible clinicians (ECs) may receive a payment bonus, a payment penalty, or no payment adjustment.

MIPS streamlines 3 currently independent programs to work as one:

  1. Electronic Health Record Incentive Program/Meaningful Use (MU)
  2. Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)
  3. Value-Based Modifier (VBM) 

MIPS also adds a fourth component, Improvement Activities (IA), to promote ongoing improvement and innovation. This new program will ease clinician burden and allow clinicians to choose the activities and measures that are most meaningful to their practice to demonstrate performance. 

The first performance year for MIPS will begin in 2017, making 2019 the year any adjustments in payments will be made. 2017 reporting closes on March 31, 2018. MIPS reporting can be submitted to CMS through the Spine Quality Outcomes Database.

Who is eligible for MIPS?

mips eligible

What are exclusions from MIPS?

There are 3 exclusions of providers from MIPS eligibility:

  1. Providers participating in an APM, as defined by MACRA, are not subject to MIPS.
  2. Low Volume Threshold: Clinicians who bill less than or equal to $30,000 in Medicare beneficiaries in a designated period are exempt from MIPS. CMS will conduct low-volume status determinations prior to and during the performance period using claims data. 
  3. New Medicare-enrolled Eligible Clinicians: Providers who enroll in Medicare for the first time during a performance year are exempt from MIPS until the next subsequent performance year. 


10 Key Steps for MIPS in 2017

  1. Determine whether MIPS applies to you
  2. Review available performance categories
  3. 'Pick Your Pace' for MIPS participation
  4. Review your data
  5. Decide whether to report as an individual or a group
  6. Identify your reporting mechanism
  7. Perform a security risk analysis
  8. Report for at least 90 days (CMS deadline: October 2, 2017)
  9. Complete MIPS performance (CMS deadline: December 31, 2017)
  10. Submit 2017 MIPS data