MOC: Who Me?

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Don’t be surprised if some intergenerational strife emerges in your practice around whether or not to participate in the maintenance of certification program—not to mention some accounting complexities.

It’s well known that radiologists who passed their board exams prior to 2002 hold lifetime certificates and are not required by CMS to participate in the program. However, CMS is strongly encouraging those lifetime certificate holders to participate in MOC by offering bonus incentives that will transition to penalties in 2015.

“Why participate?” David Laszakovits, MBA, co-director, certification services division, American Board of Radiology, asks an audience of practice administrators in a session held on May 20 at the RBMA 2013 Summit. “If you participated in both PQRS and MOC your total incentive was 1.5% in 2011. It dropped to 1% in 2012 and turns into a 1.5% penalty in 2015 and 2% in 2016.”

What does it take to partake of the MOC:PQRS incentive? Participants must enroll in MOC (if not already enrolled), submit PQRS quality data to CMS, maintain a valid medical license, complete 30 CME and 10 SA-CME credits, attest to completion of on PQI (practice quality improvement) project, and attest to completion of a patient experience of care survey. Lifetime certificate holders must enroll (on the ABR website) by November 15, 2013.

The PQI projects will be administered by the ABR, which has developed some essential elements that must be included for practices to be considered participating in a meaningful way. Practices and individual radiologists will have considerable latitude outside of selecting the project metric(s), and goal; collecting baseline data, analyzing the data, creating and implementing an improvement plan; re-measuring; and self-reflecting.

Another reason to participate is that the ABR has begun publishing a list of participants on its web site that can be accessed by the public. Radiologists holding lifetime certification and electing to not participate will be listed as “not required to participate” by the ABR. “We will not require you to participate, but some other organizations may require it,” Laszakovits says. Some states could require it for licensure and some payors may make participation in the program mandatory.

Physicians can participate individually or as a practice unit in MOC and PQI. With newer partners with less equity mandated to participate, and older partners with greater equity given the option to sit on the sidelines (thereby reducing overall practice income), we could see some pressure exerted on those holding lifetime certificates.

After all, there are only a few things that people argue about, and one of them is money. Contact the MOC Help Desk with any questions: abrmocp@theabr.org; 520.519.2152.