American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Frequently Asked Questions about How Medicare's PQRS Program Relates to NOMS

What is the Physician Quality Reporting System?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System is a payment program for eligible health care professionals designed to support improvements in quality of care to Medicare beneficiaries through the tracking of practice patterns.

Do all speech-language pathologists need to participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System?

No. Only private practice SLPs who bill Medicare Part B directly using their individual National Provider Number (NPI) on the claim form must report on the approved PQRS quality measures.

How is NOMS data collection related to PQRS?

Eight of ASHA's adult NOMS Functional Communication Measures (FCM) have been classified as quality measures for complying with Medicare's PQRS program, and NOMS has been approved by CMS as a registry through which eligible SLPs can report these measures. As an approved registry, SLPs enter their data into the NOMS data collection system and ASHA submits data to CMS on behalf of the SLP.

Will I receive an incentive for reporting NOMS data in the Physician Quality Reporting System?

PQRS was initially implemented as a voluntary, incentive-driven program to track the quality of care and outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries with specific diagnosis. PQRS will remain an incentive program through 2014, but will change to a deduction program beginning in 2015.

Is NOMS the only way to participate in PQRS?

No. ASHA's NOMS is just one of many Medicare-approved third party registries in which SLPs can use to report data to CMS. Other for-profit registries as well as other quality measures are available for PQRS.

When can speech-language pathologists begin participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System?

Speech-language pathologists can begin participating immediately.

Are there quality measures that speech-language pathologists can report on?

Yes. SLPs will be allowed to report on the following eight Functional Communication Measures (FCM) submitted by ASHA for outcomes reporting as quality measures: spoken language comprehension, spoken language expression, attention, memory, motor speech, reading, writing, and swallowing.

SLPs can also report documentation of current medications as a quality measure.

How would a speech-language pathologist report on the eight measures?

ASHA has received approval from CMS to classify the National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) as a Medicare-approved registry through which eligible SLPs can report on the quality measures. View the Physician Quality Reporting program requirements and registration materials.

Why is Physician Quality Reporting important for speech-language pathology?

Speech-language pathologists are charged with providing a continuum of comprehensive quality care to patients with communication and swallowing disorders. The effectiveness of the chosen service delivery model is driven by evidence-based practice which is the crux of quality of care. A mechanism for evaluating the efficacy of the selected service delivery model is NOMS. CMS recognizes the importance of tracking SLP treatment outcomes and its approval of the above-referenced eight FCMs as quality measures supports the purpose of NOMS and the continued need for evidence-based SLP services.

Where can I find more information?

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