Practice Organization finalizes committee to create new clinical data registry

Psychologists would use the qualified clinical data registry to track outcomes and meet the federal reporting requirements.

By Jewel Edwards-Ashman

The advisory committee tasked with developing the new qualified clinical data registry (QCDR) for psychologists and other behavioral health practitioners is scheduled to have its first meeting in July 2017. The APA Practice Organization chose a panel of seven experts and multiple liaisons specializing in quality measurement, progress monitoring and clinical research to build the registry and prepare it for psychologists’ use in 2018.

Once completed, psychologists and other mental health professionals will be able to use the registry to track patient outcomes and compare new treatments and research. The QCDR will also help psychologists comply with quality reporting requirements under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). Psychologists who are Medicare providers are not required to participate in MACRA programs — the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models — until 2019.

Eventually, the Practice Organization will ask the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to recognize the QCDR as a legitimate method of reporting MIPS quality measures.

“Many psychologists are struggling to report because there are insufficient measures for behavioral health practices that readily meet Medicare requirements for quality reporting. Our job as a task force is to identify 30 measures that will be recognized by Medicare. This straightforward, user-friendly, comprehensive suite of measures will accurately capture the health status of psychologists’ patients and the care that we provide to them,” says Advisory Committee Chair Carol D. Goodheart, EdD.

The QCDR will also prove valuable for psychologists who aren’t Medicare providers as the entire health care industry shifts away from its fee-for-service payment model.

“Health care is in transition, and there is no question that the standard for getting reimbursed by any insurance company will be to do quality reporting. Looking at the cost-benefit ratio, it’s going to be well worth paying an annual usage fee to report using the qualified clinical data registry,” Goodheart says.

Right now, psychologists can practice submitting data for MACRA/MIPS and receive feedback on their performance using the current Healthmonix registry platform now called APAPO MIPSPRO.

Psychologists can transition from using the APAPO MIPSPRO to the QCDR and have a year of practice before required reporting under MACRA begins in 2019. The QCDR will likely be easier to use than MIPSPRO.

Going forward, the QCDR advisory committee will collaborate with Healthmonix, the APA Practice Organization board and staff as appropriate.

2017 QCDR Advisory Committee 

  • Chair: Carol Goodheart, EdD, independent practice in New Jersey
  • David Bard, PhD, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Bruce Bobbitt, PhD, LP, retired from Optum (United Health Group)
  • Zeeshan Butt, PhD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Kathleen Lysell, PsyD, VA Central Office
  • Dean McKay, PhD, ABPP, Fordham University
  • Kari Stephens, PhD, University of Washington