A new study finds that many physicians do not meet Physician Quality Reporting System requirements and could face lower reimbursement from Medicare in 2015 if they aren’t participating in 2013.

That’s because 2013 is the data collection year that will determine who continues to receive bonus payments for participating and who is penalized for not participating.

The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute conducted a study of radiologists’ experiences during the first four years of PQRS from 2007 through 2010.  Results are published in the new issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The institute found the majority of radiologists and other physicians were not participating in the first four years, but the numbers grew annually. In 2010, almost 24 percent of eligible radiologists qualified for PQRS incentives, compared with 16 percent for other physicians. Radiologists using registry reporting systems rather than claims-based systems were more likely to receive PQRS bonuses. If the nearly 75 percent of radiologists not participating in PRQS during 2010 were to continue non-participation, it would cost them at least $2,654 each in penalties in 2016, an estimated $111.4 million financial hit for the radiology profession, the institute estimates.

Consequently, practice improvements in documentation and reporting are necessary now “to avert widespread near-future physician penalties,” the study authors conclude. The study is available here.

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