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Physical therapists and other providers participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System have another opportunity to get relief on reporting requirements: CMS has reopened an application process that allows providers to reweight categories in light of "extreme and uncontrollable circumstances" related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deadline for application is March 31.

As it did in June 2020, the CMS Quality Payment Program will once again allow clinicians to apply for a reweighting of any or all MIPS performance categories to 0% for performance year 2020. The option is known as the "Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception."

Providers can apply if they believe that they have experienced an extreme and uncontrollable circumstance, such as the COVID-19 public health emergency, that prevented them from collecting data or affected their performance on cost measures. To submit the application, clinicians must have a HCQIS Access and Roles Profile, or HARP, account. Applications will be accepted through March 31.

According to CMS, applications won't override previously submitted data.

Another exception path is known as the MIPS Promoting Interoperability Performance Category Hardship Exception. However, that exception only applies to reweighting in the Promoting Interoperability performance category.

Although documentation is not required to be submitted with the application, clinicians should keep documentation of the circumstances that support their applications in case they are selected by CMS for data validation or audit.

This CMS document provides more details on the exceptions process. (Link works best in Google Chrome or Microsoft Explorer web browsers.)

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