ACCME Letter to CMS Describes Value of CME in Supporting MIPS

June 21, 2016
Posted by: 
Patty Harrison

The ACCME submitted a comment to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) approaches detailed in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. In the letter, Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME, describes the value of CME and the capacity of the accredited CME system to support the implementation of MIPS.

“The ACCME’s educational system and technological framework can be readily leveraged to support the implementation of MIPS, and help our clinician community maintain and advance the quality, safety, and efficiency of care for the patients we all serve,” Dr. McMahon writes.

Specifically, the ACCME requests that:

  • CMS recognize relevant performance and quality improvement accredited continuing medical education (CME) as a clinical practice improvement activity within MIPS.
  • CMS designate ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) as a reporting mechanism for clinical practice improvement activities.

The ACCME System has the capacity to support MIPS because it is a national enterprise of diverse, geographically distributed healthcare organizations; these distributed educators engage clinicians in relevant local and national performance improvement activities, Dr. McMahon explains. Accredited CME providers offer nearly 150,000 educational activities annually, comprising more than one million hours of instruction offered in a wide range of online and face-to-face formats. This education includes nearly 26 million interactions with physicians and other healthcare professionals each year. Accreditation requirements align with CMS goals: Accredited CME providers design and evaluate the impact of activities that promote new practice strategies, performance change for individuals and teams, and patient outcomes.

“This network of CME professionals understands healthcare needs on the local community, regional, and national levels, has expertise addressing public/population health challenges, and has demonstrated success in overcoming implementation challenges. This network has the capacity and expertise to engage clinicians in meaningful work to improve performance, practice, and quality improvement,” Dr. McMahon writes.

The ACCME responded to the CMS call for comment as part of its ongoing efforts to provide solutions that leverage the value of the national CME enterprise while reducing the complexity and burden of professional requirements for physicians and other health professionals. “As demonstrated by the nearly 26 million interactions between US health practitioners and educators, the accredited CME community offers an educational home that can support and nurture participation in CMS initiatives to improve quality and further promote safe, cost-effective care,” Dr. McMahon writes.

View the ACCME’s letter on the ACCME website.

Find out more about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Quality Payment Program.