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ASCP NPQR Helps Pathologists and Labs Meet CMS Requirements, Drive Improvement

Nov 21, 2017

Currently, medical laboratories lack a robust method for sharing best practices and benchmarking performance to drive improvement. With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) efforts to shift healthcare delivery from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance healthcare delivery, pathologists also need a way to report on their performance in order to avoid negative payment adjustments. ASCP’s National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR) is offering an easy way for pathologists to meet requirements for 2017 CMS reporting and avoid a penalty, as well as prepare their labs to measure and improve quality and performance in 2018.

In 2015, the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act, known as MACRA, created the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS, is the QPP option that most pathologists will likely be participating in.  To meet 2017 MIPS requirements, pathologists must report on one improvement activity. NPQR is offering a free reporting option to all pathologists through a CMS-approved Qualified Registry, provided by our technology and analytics partner, ArborMetrix. Using this solution, pathologists can easily meet requirements and avoid a 4% loss on their Medicare Part B billing in 2017. Pathologists can visit www.ascp.org/NPQR/2017 to sign up.

The video below provides more details.

Pathologists can also sign up to learn more about how their institution can participate in NPQR in 2018.  NPQR will not only enable pathologists to satisfy requirements from CMS and private payers for reimbursement, but what sets NPQR apart from other registries is that it will give labs and pathologists the tools to initiate tangible quality improvement and make meaningful impacts on patient care delivery. This novel platform will leverage ASCP’s vast expertise and educational materials to create a robust tool for quality improvement science promotion and the establishment of best practices.

The registry aggregates data from lab information systems, both anatomic and clinical, and puts them together to highlight the increased role of the lab and pathologists in improving patient care. NPQR has developed an inclusive data collection system around the following four topics, with plans for adding additional topics in the future:

Monitoring appropriate utilization of laboratory testing

As the only organization representing the laboratory in the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely initiative, ASCP has created this portion of the registry to operationalize our Choosing Wisely recommendations on appropriate test utilization.

Improving pre-analytical processes

This portion of the registry helps track possible areas for improvement in the pre-analytical phase of testing. It also provides a platform for participating laboratories to share best practices with other laboratories. 

Optimizing turnaround time and critical value reporting

These measures monitor how long it takes from specimen collection to reporting of testing results, and the time interval for reporting critical values.  The goal of these measures is to help labs establish a more standardized approach to critical value reporting.

Assessing analytical and diagnostic accuracy

These measures look at lab practices for reviewing cases, diagnosing new malignancies, looking at frozen section and cytology correlations and what safeguards are in place for protecting patients in the diagnostic process.

Convenient Functionality

The registry will provide dashboards that are updated at regular intervals to show recent, actionable data. Participants can drill down to the patient level to drive improvement in areas like appropriate test utilization, turn-around times, etc. Educational tools will to show participants how to make improvements and structure an effective quality management program in their institution.

Clinical pathology (CP), anatomic pathology (AP) and combined AP/CP laboratories can all utilize this program to measure and strengthen performance. Designed with laboratory information system (LIS) providers, the Registry supports integration with various LIS. Laboratories can participate individually, or as part of a hospital system, reference lab network or other group entity. Interested laboratories can sign up to get more information at www.ascp.org/NPQR/2017.

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