CMS, CMMI Announce Flexibilities for Oncology Practices Impacted by COVID-19

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced flexibilities for clinicians participating in the 2020 Quality Payment Program (QPP) Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) who have been impacted by the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Affected clinicians may submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application to reweight any MIPS performance categories or may apply for the MIPS Promoting Interoperability Performance Category Hardship Exception.

Clinicians requesting relief will need to provide justification for how their practice has been significantly impacted by the PHE. The flexibilities fact sheet and QPP Exception Applications webpage have more information about eligibility and submission guidelines (available at

In other news for QPP participants, the Physician Compare 60-day Preview Period is open for physicians to preview their 2018 QPP performance information before it appears on their Physician Compare profile pages and in the Downloadable Database ( Physicians can access their secured preview through the QPP website ( Information on how to preview the data is available in the Physician Compare Preview Period User Guide. The 60-day Preview Period will close on August 20, 2020, at 8 PM EST.

For additional assistance, contact the QPP service center at 1-866-288-8292 or

Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced new flexibilities and adjustments to its current and future alternative payment models in response to the COVID-19 PHE. Of note for the cancer community, CMMI made the following changes to the Oncology Care Model (OCM):

Payment Methodology

  • Option for OCM practices to elect to forgo upside and downside risk for performance periods affected by the PHE
  • For OCM practices that remain in one- or two-sided risk for the performance periods affected by the PHE, remove COVID-19 episodes from reconciliation for those performance periods.

Quality Reporting

  • Make aggregate-level reporting of quality measures and beneficiary-level reporting of clinical and staging data optional for the affected performance periods
  • Remove the requirement for cost and resource utilization reporting and practice transformation plan reporting in July/August 2020.


  • Extend model for 1 year through June 2022.

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