Medicare Paid Physicians More Than $92 Million in Incentives for 2008 Under the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative

Announcement Follows CMS’s Release of 2010 PQRI Program Details

More than 85,000 physicians and other eligible professionals who successfully reported quality-related data to Medicare under the 2008 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) received incentive payments totaling more than $92 million, up from the $36 million paid in 2007, according to a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report.  The announcement of the 2008 statistics follows CMS’s recent announcement of its plan for the 2010 PQRI Program as part of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule.  A fact sheet on the 2010 PQRI Program is available online at here.  CMS reports it excepts the PQRI Program will continue to improve quality and provider participation will rise in 2009 and 2010.

According to CMS, physicians and other eligible professionals qualified for an incentive payment for the 2008 PQRI by satisfactorily reporting the required PQRI quality measures data received their payments this Fall.  CMS reports that:

  • The number of eligible professionals who earned an incentive payment during 2008 increased by one-third from 2007, when 56,700 eligible professionals earned an incentive payment.  In 2007, eligible professionals could only participate in the program during a 6-month reporting period.  In 2008, the program expanded to allow reporting for either a 6-month or a 12-month period.
  • The average incentive amount for individual professionals was over $1,000, with the largest payment to an eligible professional totaling over $98,000.
  • More than 162,800 professionals participated in the 2008 PQRI. Of those, over 85,000 physicians and other eligible professionals met statutory requirements for satisfactory reporting for the 2008 reporting period and are receiving incentive payments. 
  • Eligible professionals from all U.S. states and territories participated in PQRI in 2008.  Health practices with participating eligible professionals in Florida and Illinois received the highest incentive payments for the 2008 PQRI.  In Florida, eligible professionals received a total of over $7.5 million, and in Illinois, they received over $6 million.

Additional 2008 PQRI results, as well as information on how eligible professionals who participated in the 2008 PQRI, can access confidential feedback reports can be found in a CMS Fact Sheet here.

Established in late 2006 by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act, PQRI is a voluntary program that allows physicians and other eligible healthcare professionals to receive incentive payments for reporting data on quality measures related to services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries.  In the initial program years, physicians and other eligible professionals who satisfactorily submitted quality data for covered professional services furnished in the applicable reporting period were able to receive incentive payments of 1.5 percent of the total estimated allowed charges under Medicare Part B for covered professional services. In 2008 Congress extended the PQRI under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) and authorized incentive payments through 2010.

While the 2008 PQRI program included positive changes to ease the reporting of quality measures, CMS anticipates that the 2009 PQRI program provides enhancements that will make it even easier for physicians and other health care professionals to participate. Beginning in 2009, Congress increased the incentive that eligible professionals could receive for satisfactorily reporting data from 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent of the estimate of the allowed charges under Medicare Part B for all such covered professional services furnished during the applicable reporting period for 2009 and 2010.  CMS added 52 new quality measures for the 2009 PQRI year, raising the total number of measures to 153.  These new measures cover all types of healthcare professionals who provide services to Medicare beneficiaries, and address areas such as osteoarthritis, back pain, coronary artery disease, and HIV/AIDS, as well as 18 measures that must be reported exclusively through PQRI-qualified registries.  CMS hopes its recently announced 2010 PQRI Program will result in enhanced quality and further participation by physicians and other providers in 2010.

More information about the PQRI program, including participation guidance and the criteria to qualify for an incentive payment is available at

For More Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.  If you need assistance with these or other health care public policy, regulatory, compliance, risk management, workforce and other staffing, transactional or operational concerns, please contact the author of this update, Curran Tomko Tarski LLP Health Practice Group Chair, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, at (214) 270‑2402, Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising clients and writes and speaks extensively on these and other health industry and other reimbursement, operations, internal controls and risk management matters.  You can review other recent health care and related resources and additional information about the health industry and other experience of Ms. Stamer here

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile at here or e-mailing this information here and/or by participating in the SLP Health Care Risk Management & Operations Group on LinkedIn.  To unsubscribe, e-mail here.

©2009 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  All rights reserved.

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