What We're Reading: CMS Adds COVID-19 to MIPS; Trump Signals Immigration Move; Antibody Testing in Calif.

April 21, 2020

CMS will allow clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program to earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for participation in a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) clinical trial and reporting clinical information; President Trump announced via Twitter that he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration; findings from antibody testing in Los Angeles indicate that more people have been infected with COVID-19 than initially confirmed.

CMS to Allow Practices to Earn MIPS Credit by Reporting COVID-19 Data

CMS will allow clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program to earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for participation in a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) clinical trial and reporting clinical information. CMS said the move will help improve patient care. Clinicians must attest that they participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial using a drug or biological product to treat a patient with a COVID-19 infection and report their findings through a clinical data repository or clinical data registry for the duration of their study.

Trump Administration to Suspend Immigration Temporarily

President Trump said in a tweet yesterday that he will be signing an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States,” claiming the move will protect jobs lost to the COVID-19) pandemic. The New York Times reported it is not clear what authority he has to shut down immigration. The move adds to other efforts the administration has made against immigration since he took office, including expanding trvel restrictions from certain countries, delaying visa processing, and barring asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country, The Associated Press noted.

Antibody Tests Suggest Wider COVID-19 Infections in Los Angeles

According to health officials in Los Angeles, California, where antibody testing was conducted on residents, nearly 4.1% of adults tested positive for novel coronavirus antibodies, indicating that the rate of infection may be 40 times higher than the number of confirmed cases, Reuters reported. The serology tests were conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California on 863 people. Results indicate that the death rate may be lower than believed, but it may also suggest the virus is more easily spread, even by people who show no symptoms.