CMS releases PQRS, eRx progress report

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a new report on two of its pay-for-reporting incentive programs for eligible professionals (EPs): the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and electronic prescribing (eRx).

The 90 page report on 2012 participation results and trends in the programs demonstrates "exciting progress," according to CMS officials. Some of the findings include:

  • Participation in PQRS increased by 36 percent from 2011 to 2012
  • PQRS 2012 incentive payments totaled $167,815,193
  • The average PQRS incentive was $457 per individual EP and $5,736 per practice
  • There was a very large increase in the number of EPs in the PQRS reporting by EHR
  • eRx payments increased by 22 percent from 2011
  • Alignment of the eRx and Meaningful Use EHR program helped reduce eRx payment adjustments by half in 2012  
  • eRx payments totaled $335,331,216

Most EPs in the eRx program qualified for a payment; over five percent of those who were subject to an eRx payment adjustment were not participating in the program at all.

"[T]he growth of the Physician Quality Reporting System and eRx Incentive Program in 2012 supported continued progress toward the CMS goals of promoting quality measure reporting for Medicare beneficiaries and alignment across quality measure reporting programs," the report summarizes.

CMS has been working to align the reporting programs so that EPs don't have to report multiple times. The 2014 CMS physician payment rule released November 2013 finalized alignment of the EHR program with other reporting programs including PQRS.

The proposed legislation to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate would have aligned the incentive programs further, creating a merit-based incentive payment system which would have consolidated the Meaningful Use program, the PQRS and the Value Based Modifier. This provision was not included in the final SGR patch legislation which was enacted earlier this week. 

To learn more:
- access the report (.pdf)