The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Sunday announced “unprecedented” changes for providers taking part in Medicare quality reporting programs.

CMS is implementing additional “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances policy exceptions and extensions” for a variety of data submission deadlines due to complications brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic. It also is making optional other submission possibilities.

Fourth-quarter data submission will be optional for the participants in the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program, as well as those in the SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program.

 Also, 2019 data for participants of the Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will be delayed a month to April 30. The agency is “evaluating options for providing relief” regarding participation and data submission for 2020.

“No data reflecting services provided January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 will be used in CMS’s calculations for the Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs,” the agency said Sunday. 

“CMS recognizes that quality measure data collection and reporting for services furnished during this time period may not be reflective of their true level of performance on measures such as cost, readmissions and patient experience during this time of emergency and seeks to hold organizations harmless for not submitting data during this period.” 

Section GG coding help

Skilled nursing providers also now have an additional resource when it comes to coding Section GG of the Minimum Data Set. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released three video tutorial videos aimed at providing guidance for SNFs. The videos use simulated patient scenarios.

For example, one video demonstrates how to distinguish between Code 02 (substantial/maximal assistance) and Code 04 (supervision or touching assistance) when coding GG0130H (putting on/taking off footwear). 

Other videos discuss coding GG1070P (picking up object) and GG0170L (walking 10 feet on uneven surfaces.) 

The tutorial videos can be accessed here.