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Implications of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System for Urology Practices

      Objective

      To determine the implications of the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) for urology practices. MIPS is a Medicare payment model that determines whether a physician is financially penalized or receives bonus payment based on performance in four categories: quality, practice improvement, promotion of interoperability, and spending.

      Methods

      We performed a cross-sectional analysis of urologist performance in MIPS for 2017 and 2019 using Medicare data. Urologist practice organization was categorized as single-specialty (small, medium, large) or multispecialty groups. MIPS scores were estimated by practice organization. Logistic regression models were used to examine the association between urology practice characteristics, including proportion of dual eligible beneficiaries, and bonus payment adjustment as defined by Medicare methodology. Rates of consolidation (movement from smaller to larger practices) between 2017 and 2019 were compared between those who were and those who were not penalized in 2017.

      Results

      Urologists in small practices performed worse in MIPS and had a significantly lower adjusted odds ratio of receiving bonus payments in both 2017 and 2019 compared to larger group practices (odds ratio [OR] 0.04, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.03-0.05 in 2017 and OR 0.37, 95%CI 0.30-0.47 in 2019). Increasing percent of dual eligible beneficiaries within a patient panel was associated with decreased odds of receiving bonus payment in both performance years. Urologists penalized in 2017 had higher rates of consolidation by 2019 compared to those who were not (14% vs 5%, P <.05).

      Conclusion

      Small urology practices and those caring for a higher proportion of dual eligible beneficiaries tended to perform worse in MIPS.
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