To combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19), a multitude of companies, organizations and clinicians have been working to develop treatments and better understand the virus. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been championing efforts of researchers to acquire substantial, working data to achieve positive outcomes for this pandemic. CMS has now cast a wider net to capture this vital data by providing an opportunity for clinicians participating in the Quality Payment Program (QPP). These clinicians are being encouraged to participate in clinical trials and report clinical information to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), clinicians can now earn credit for the new COVID-19 Clinical Trials as an improvement activity.
For MIPS 2020 credit, clinicians will have to attest that they participated in COVID-19 clinical trials by utilizing a drug or biological product to treat a patient with a COVID-19 infection and report their findings through a clinical data repository, or clinical data registry for the duration of their study. This new improvement activity will provide flexibility in the type of clinical trial, whether it is a traditional double-blind placebo-controlled trial or an adaptive or pragmatic designed trial. From a scoring perspective, this activity carries a high weight, which enables clinicians who report this activity to earn half (or full credit if the clinician or practice has certain special statuses) of the total credit needed to earn a maximum score in the MIPS improvement activities performance category. The improvement category carries a weight of 15% for 2020.
Clinical trials could include those conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Currently, there are over 300 studies recruiting participants and another 300 studies that will be recruiting in the future. A database of the private and publicly funded clinical studies being conducted on Coronavirus can be viewed here: https://clinicaltrials.gov/. An example of a clinical data repository that clinicians can report through is Oracle’s COVID-19 Therapeutic Learning System. Oracle built and donated this system to the U.S. government, which allows clinicians and patients to record the effectiveness of promising COVID-19 drug therapies. Clinicians and patients started enrolling in the Therapeutic Learning System on March 31. To access Oracle’s system, click on this link.
The actions taken by clinicians during this time can bring real-world, frontline data to the forefront of health care faster and help develop best practices and unique solutions to manage the spread of COVID-19 and improve patient care.