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Food insecurity and malnutrition are interconnected conditions that impair patient health, worsen outcomes, exacerbate chronic health concerns, and burden our healthcare system. Risk for both conditions has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized the importance of food insecurity and nutrition risk in affecting health equity by including a food insecurity and nutrition risk improvement activity in the 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule.
Improvement Activities (IAs) offered by the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) provide opportunities for participating clinicians to implement certain quality improvement efforts and clinical activities that improve clinical practice, care delivery, and outcomes. This category is one of 4 required categories that determine payment under the MIPS program. Learn More.
CMS included a new IA focused on food insecurity and nutrition risk in its final rule for the 2022 MIPS Quality Payment Program. Activity IA_AHE_9 is titled, “Implement Food Insecurity and Nutrition Risk Identification and Treatment Protocols,” has medium weight and is available for reporting effective January 1, 2022. The IA is intended to facilitate identification and provision of appropriate support to patients with or at risk for food insecurity and patients with or at risk for poor nutritional status. (Poor nutritional status is sometimes called clinical malnutrition or undernutrition and applies to people who are overweight as well as underweight.)
CMS has indicated that actions to implement the IA may include—but are not limited to—use of Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQii) or other quality improvement resources and standardized screening tools to assess and improve current food insecurity and nutrition risk screening and care practices. A full description of the new IA can be found starting on page 2353 of the final rule.
To implement this IA, follow these three basic steps and recommended workflow for a patient visit:
The screening and intervention workflows below outline the recommended steps for screening for food insecurity and/or nutrition risk and providing resources and appropriate care for those at risk. More details on the available resources are provided on our webpage about food insecurity and nutrition risk.
Overview of MIPS Improvement Activities
How to Participate
Getting Credit for Pursuing this Food Insecurity and Nutrition Risk IA