Healthcentric Advisors Heads North to Support Rural Practices with Medicare Quality Payment Program


Rural communities are more likely to be medically underserved than urban ones according to the National Rural Health Association. Our team in Maine supports the most rural state in the country—where more than 60% of the state’s population live in rural areas.

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But being close to the northern-most point of Maine wasn’t too far for Healthcentric Advisors staff, Susan Whittaker and Michael Pancook, to deliver face-to-face technical support to some of the most rural medical organizations in the nation.

The first stop was Fish River Rural Health in Fort Kent where Susan and Michael presented on Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) diagnosis coding, risk adjustment and the MIPS Complex Patient Bonus. Fish River clinicians and administrative staff learned the importance of HCC coding and its use in Medicare’s risk adjustment methodology to predict medical expenditure. The goal of HCC coding is to reflect patients’ disease burden accurately and the associated costs of care.

Following a lively question and answer period and discussion of reimbursable chronic care management services in the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Susan and Michael toured Fish River’s new facility and met several of the staff whose commitment to community-based quality patient care was evident.


That afternoon the team visited Northern Maine Medical Center, touring the 49-bed acute care hospital that has earned 2018 DOUBLE 5-star recognition from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other awards for excellence. Susan and Michael met with quality administrators to review HCC coding and discuss other support available from the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO).

A request for Security Risk Analysis (SRA) assistance came in from a practice administrator at Family Eye Care in Caribou which fit nicely into the return trip to the Brunswick, Maine office. Family Eye Care is a four-generation optometry practice. Dr. Craig Small’s grandfather founded the practice and Dr. Small followed his father into the business. His daughters, Abby and Paige will join the practice when they complete their doctorates in Optometry. Additionally, Dr. Small’s wife, Jane Mavor-Small, is an optician with the group.

Healthcentric Advisors offers no-cost technical assistance to large and small MIPS eligible practices and MSSP1 ACOs on several Quality Payment Program initiatives. Support includes MIPS planning, data submission, and performance review, EIDM account activation support, chronic care management, annual wellness visits, and HCC coding and risk adjustment education – just to name a few!

Want to learn more? Susan and Michael would love to hear from you! Education and support is customized for your setting. Reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].

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