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More Disaster Zones Granted Automatic MIPS-Reporting Leeway

By Steven Porter  
   January 29, 2018

Officials added counties in Alabama, Mississippi, and California to the list of locations covered under the MIPS ‘automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstance policy.’

Another 25 counties have been added to the list of disaster-plagued areas that will automatically qualify for special treatment under the 2017 data-submission requirements for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Monday.

The additions were made to include counties in Alabama and Mississippi affected by hurricane Nate last fall, as well as more California counties affected by wildfires. Clinicians working in the specified areas don’t need to take any action, CMS said, because those affected will be identified automatically.

That being said, anyone who is automatically identified as eligible for the “automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstance policy” but who submits data for two or more MIPS performance categories anyway will be scored on those categories.

For transition year 2017, the MIPS data submission period runs from January 2 through March 31.

The newly identified counties are as follows:

  • Alabama: Autauga, Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Dallas, Macon, Mobile, and Washington
  • Mississippi: George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, and Stone
  • California: Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Santa Barbara, Solano, Sonoma, Ventura, and Yuba

Those newly identified counties will be added to the long list of counties affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria:

  • Florida: All 67 counties.
  • Georgia: All 159 counties.
  • Louisiana (parishes): Acadia, Allen, Assumption, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, De Soto, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Natchitoches, Plaquemines, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, St. Charles, St. Mary, Vermilion, and Vernon.
  • Puerto Rico: All 78 municipios.
  • South Carolina: Allendale; Anderson; Bamberg; Barnwell; Beaufort; Berkeley; Charleston; Colleton; Dorchester; Edgefield; Georgetown; Hampton; Jasper; McCormick; Oconee; and Pickens.
  • Texas: Aransas; Austin; Bastrop; Bee; Bexar; Brazoria; Burleson; Caldwell; Calhoun; Chambers; Colorado; Comal; Dallas; Dewitt; Fayette; Fort Bend; Galveston; Goliad; Gonzales; Grimes; Guadalupe; Hardin; Harris; Jackson; Jasper; Jefferson; Jim Wells; Karnes; Kleberg; Lavaca; Lee; Liberty; Madison; Matagorda; Milam; Montgomery; Newton; Nueces; Orange; Polk; Refugio; Sabine; San Augustine; San Jacinto; San Patricio; Tarrant; Travis; Tyler; Victoria; Walker; Waller; Washington; and Wharton.
  • Virgin Islands: All of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Questions should be directed to 1-866-288-8292 (TTY 1-877-715-6222), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Eastern Time, or via email:

Steven Porter is editor at HealthLeaders.

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