Providers likely to leave MSSP because of COVID-19, survey finds

Fifty-six percent of healthcare organizations that take on financial risk in Medicare Shared Savings Program contracts are likely to drop out of the program, according to a new survey from the National Association of ACOs. 

The organizations are thinking about leaving the program out of fear of facing massive losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 304 ACO responses received in the survey, 21 percent of at-risk ACOs said they are very likely to leave the Medicare ACO program, while 14 percent said they were likely and 21 percent said they were somewhat likely to drop out.

The majority — 80 percent of respondents — said they were very concerned about their ACO performance this year.

"When ACOs made a commitment to assume risk, they didn't expect they'd be handling the risk of a global pandemic," said Clif Gaus, NAACOS president and CEO. "Rather than be forced to pay enormous losses resulting from the pandemic, these groups of providers may sadly quit the program, which they can do without penalty by May 31."

In March, CMS said it is waiving reporting requirements and extending data submission deadlines for providers and hospitals participating in Medicare quality programs. For MSSP specifically, CMS extended the 2019 data submission deadline from March 3, 2020, to April 30, 2020. Clinicians who are eligible for Merit-based Incentive Payment System program who don't submit MIPS data by April 30 will receive a neutral payment adjustment for the 2021 MIPS payment year. The 2020 data submission deadline is under evaluation.

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