SCGhealth Blog

Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria’s Impact on Quality and Value-Based Reporting – CMS Granting Exceptions

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

By Brandy Dehaven, Intern

Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria have had a disastrous impact on the southern United States. In the aftermath of a catastrophic hurricane season, those in affected areas are beginning to pick up the pieces. In order to allow facilities in those areas to focus on patient care and facility repairs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is granting exceptions on certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs.

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APM) are also eligible for reweighing on advancing care information (ACI) but facilities will still be expected to report quality.

Who is granted exceptions?
CMS is granting exceptions to acute care hospitals, prospective payment system (PPS) exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, Renal Dialysis Facilities, long-term care hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers in the designated major disaster areas.

You might notice that eligible clinicians are not included in the exceptions. SCG Health reached out to CMS for a response: “At this time, CMS is reviewing reporting requirements for the Quality Payment Program and will be making exception decisions regarding the impact of Hurricane Harvey (and Irma) in the near future. Please continue to consult for the latest information and sign up for the Quality Payment Program on to stay informed”.

What exceptions are granted?
Hospital inpatient services are granted exceptions to their Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR), Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey, Healthcare Personnel (HCP) influenza vaccination measures, and chart abstracted measures.

What areas are designated major disaster counties?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated major disaster areas in: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico Municipals and U.S. Virgin Island County-Equivalents. For an updated list:

Providers do not have to submit an extraordinary circumstances exception request (ECE) if they are located in one of the designated areas. Hospitals and ASCs not in the designated areas can submit ECE requests based on individual circumstances.

For more information, visit:
CMS Irma Memo
CMS Harvey Memo

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