CMS to pay providers via MIPS for participating in COVID-19 drug treatment trials

A financial chart
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will give providers credit under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System for participating in COVID-19 clinical trials. (Getty/Ca-ssis)

Clinicians can earn a credit via the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) if they participate in a clinical trial and report clinical information on COVID-19, the Trump administration announced late Monday.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said Monday that the goal of the new credit is to provide data that will be vital to making treatments to combat the virus.

“The best scientific and medical minds in the world are working night and day to find treatments to combat coronavirus,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement Monday. “But without solid data, their efforts are liable to run against a brick wall.”

To receive the credit, clinicians must attest to CMS they are participating in a clinical trial on a COVID-19 drug or biologic to treat patients. The clinicians have to report their findings via a clinical data repository or data registry for the duration of the study, the agency adds.

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There is also flexibility on the types of trials, including traditional double-blind and placebo-controlled trials to more advanced designs, CMS said.

Participation in a trial also will weigh very high in MIPS scoring.

“This means that clinicians who report this activity will automatically earn half of the total credit needed to earn a maximum score in the MIPS improvement activities performance category, which counts as 15% of the MIPS final score,” CMS said.

The agency has sought to provide regulatory relief for providers slammed with COVID-19 cases, including extending deadlines for reporting for various quality programs such as MIPS and the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

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