Rule Change: “Screening for health-harming legal needs” is an Improvement Activity under CMS’ Quality Payment Program

Monday, April 2, 2018

By The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership

A critical part of making sure that legal services are available as part of quality healthcare is ensuring that screening for legal needs is a recognized and reimbursable activity for health care providers. In the rule for the 2018 performance year of the Quality Payment Program, established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services included “screening for health-harming legal needs” as a recognized Improvement Activity (IA) under Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System. Now eligible clinicians who screen patients for legal needs will receive credit in the IA category, which could potentially lead to an increased Medicare reimbursement rate. During the review process, more than two dozen medical-legal partnership teams provided comments to help ensure this change remained in the final rule.

This new primer from the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership discusses which clinicians are eligible for the Quality Payment Program, how to claim credit for Improvement Activities, and the inherent opportunities for medical-legal partnerships.