For most healthcare organizations, MIPS is a more attractive option because it takes a blended approach to physician reimbursement based on both volume and value, said Justin Chamblee, CPA, senior vice president at Coker Group.
"It is still very much a volume-based reimbursement methodology, but it is volume-based with strings attached. It's not just how much you do, but also how well you do what you do."
From the perspective of physician financial success, the key to MIPS is a highly structured approach to balancing volume of services with quality of services, said workshop presenter William Strimel, DO, president of Mercy Physician Network, Mercy Health System in Philadelphia. MHS is an affiliate of Livonia, MI-based Trinity Health. "You need to have a robust system in place to manage quality."
Participating in an APM is potentially more lucrative for physicians. However, operating under APM contracts, which feature both significant upside and downside risk, poses more daunting challenges than MIPS, Chamblee said.
"Under an APM, Medicare is saying they will give physicians an annual 5% uptick in reimbursement for at least a few years. So, clearly there is an incentive to be in an APM, but an APM takes a lot more work. You have to be in the Medicare Shared Savings Program or some sort of innovation model to qualify for APM reimbursement."
Long-term strategy should be a prime consideration for healthcare organizations that are struggling with the decision to embrace MIPS or APMs, Strimel said. "Mercy is looking to get to full risk. So, if we are going to get to full risk, then we need to perform well in an APM. We need to build the infrastructure."
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.