MIPS Tips No. 4: What’s Changing in 2021

2020 was an unprecedented year—and one that affected how care is provided to patients. As we move into the new year, there are still many unknowns about what the future holds, which is why it’s imperative that you stay up to date with MIPS. 

We have covered a variety of topics in our MIPS Tips series, including an introduction, HIPAA compliance, and 5 things you should know about the program. Today, we will discuss updated protocols for reporting to MIPS and how it may affect your practice in the future. 

What’s New with MIPS

The Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Policy

For 2021, the Quality Payment Program (QPP) will continue to use their Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy. According to QPP, this policy “allows clinicians, groups, and virtual groups to submit an application requesting reweighting of one or more Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance categories due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”¹

To recap our introduction to MIPS post, the four performance categories for MIPS are Quality, Improvement Activities, Cost, and Promoting Interoperability. If you choose to submit an application to reweight categories, you have the ability to request reweighting on one or more of the categories.² In addition to reweighting, the QPP is also doubling the maximum points that are available for the complex patient bonus. They will increase from 5 to 10 possible points that can be added to your final score for Performance Year 2020.²

Looking Ahead to Performance Year 2021

With Performance Year 2020 behind us, it’s important that you move into Performance Year 2021 with a clear understanding of what is changing with how you will be submitting your data next year. 

Changes to Performance Category Weights

For Performance Year 2021, the weights that performance categories hold is changing from previous years. This change in weights is not related to the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy mentioned above. Quality will become 40% of your final score (down from 45%), Improvement Activities will remain the same at 15%, Cost will increase to 20% of your final score (up from 15%), and Promoting Interoperability will remain 25%.³

The payment adjustment for MIPS in 2021 will continue to be +/- 9%, however, according to MDinteractive, “MIPS eligible clinicians who do not report MIPS in 2021 will receive a -9% MIPS penalty against their 2023 Medicare Part B payments for covered professional services.”³ So, be sure that you are following all protocols now to ensure your reporting is in place for submission in early 2022. 

Create an account with MeyerPT today or contact your personal account manager at 1.866.528.2144 for more information.


¹“COVID-19 Response.” QPP, qpp.cms.gov/resources/covid19?py=2021. 

²“COVID-19 Response.” QPP, qpp.cms.gov/resources/covid19. 

³“Key Highlights of the 2021 Final MIPS Rule.” MDinteractive,

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