In the world of healthcare, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) plays an instrumental role in incentivizing providers to deliver high-quality, efficient patient care. However, staying up-to-date with MIPS can be a challenge as the program is subject to continuous changes and updates. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of MIPS, discuss its current impact, and delve into upcoming changes announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Understanding MIPS 

The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System is part of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015. Its primary purpose is to transition healthcare from a volume-based to a value-based system. MIPS consolidates three Medicare programs — the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Value-based Payment Modifier (VBPM), and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive program into a single system. 

There are four key components of MIPS: Quality, Cost, Promoting Interoperability, and Improvement Activities. 

  1. The Quality component replaces the PQRS and requires healthcare providers to report on six quality measures that reflect their practice type or specialty. 
  1. The Cost component, previously part of the VBPM, uses administrative claims data to gauge the cost of care provided to beneficiaries. 
  1. Promoting Interoperability, formerly known as Advancing Care Information, aims to promote patient engagement and the electronic exchange of health information using certified EHR technology. 
  1. Improvement Activities is a new category that includes activities related to patient safety, care coordination, beneficiary engagement, and population health management. 

The current state of MIPS has a profound impact on healthcare practices, directly influencing their Medicare reimbursements. A practice’s MIPS score can result in a payment adjustment—positive, negative, or neutral—applied to each claim they submit to Medicare. This is why understanding and successfully navigating MIPS is crucial for healthcare providers. 

Upcoming Changes to the MIPS Program 

As healthcare evolves, so does MIPS. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have announced several changes coming to the MIPS program. 

One of the key upcoming changes is the introduction of the MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs). The MVP framework aims to reduce reporting burdens by connecting measures across the four MIPS performance categories relevant to a particular specialty or condition. 

There is also a heightened focus on equity and patient outcome in the new changes. This includes considerations for social determinants of health and risk adjustments, rewarding providers who care for disadvantaged populations and promote health equity. 

The CMS also plans to increase the performance threshold required to avoid a negative payment adjustment, making MIPS more competitive. 

These changes are part of the CMS’s continuous efforts to optimize healthcare delivery by prioritizing value over volume. It is expected to drive improvements in patient outcomes and to further ensure healthcare providers are rewarded for the quality of care they deliver. 


Understanding MIPS and staying informed about its upcoming changes is critical for healthcare providers as these directly impact the practice’s bottom line and the quality of patient care. The recent changes announced by CMS aim to further the program’s goals of rewarding high-quality, efficient healthcare services, while also increasing focus on health equity and patient outcomes. 

As we move forward in this ever-evolving healthcare landscape, it’s essential for providers to be proactive and adaptive, embracing changes such as those coming to the MIPS program. As challenging as it may be, this transition brings us one step closer to the shared goal of providing the best possible care for every patient.