Sharon Hamilton MS, RN, CFDS
Clinical Consultant, Briggs Healthcare
Dear Home Health Agency (HHA):
The Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES), which providers and vendors use to submit assessment data, is being upgraded to make the system more reliable, scalable, secure, and accessible. The enhancements will occur in phases (by provider type) and began with Long- Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) in March 2019, followed by Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) in October 2019 and Home Health Agencies (HHAs) in January 2020. The enhanced system is referred to as the Internet Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (iQIES).
The rollout of iQIES will not require providers or vendors to change current processes related to submission of data. However, iQIES will require a new user management system because virtual private network (VPN) and CMSNet are no longer needed to access this system. All users will have to create an account and establish credentials in the Healthcare Quality Information System (HCQIS) Access, Roles and Profile system (HARP). HARP is a secure identity management portal that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides.
Through HARP, the level of access for iQIES will be similar to the roles that exist in QIES but with the addition of a Provider Security Official (PSO). The individual designated as the PSO will be responsible for approving or rejecting iQIES user access requests for their respective organizations, including vendors. For your organization to receive access to iQIES, you must first identify a PSO. For instructions on obtaining access to iQIES, descriptions of the iQIES roles applicable to HHAs and important iQIES information, please refer to the following link: https://qtso.cms.gov/news-and-updates/register-iqies-account-action-required-1.
Please note that at this time, only certified Home Health Agencies will be onboarded to iQIES. For questions, please contact our service desk at: email@example.com or by phone: 800-339-9313.
***Although onboarding for HHAs is in progress, iQIES assessment submission functionality for HHAs will not be available until January 1, 2020. Although this functionality will not be available immediately, we encourage HHA security officials to request access to iQIES as soon as possible. CMS advises that HHAs register two security officials, if possible, as doing so will allow for a smoother transition prior to the January go live date. Upon receiving access, security officials will have access to ‘My Profile’ and ‘Help’ in iQIES. Please note that failure to obtain access to iQIES prior to December 23, 2019 will impact your ability to submit assessment data needed for payment purposes, as the system will have a scheduled downtime so that the data migration can occur in preparation for the January 1, 2020 release. Claims that cannot be matched to assessments will be returned to the HHA, preventing Medicare payment.
To comply with federal security mandates, CMS is initiating new security requirements for access control to CMS Quality Systems through Remote Identify Proofing (RIDP) via HARP. Users will need to create an account in HARP to gain access to the iQIES system. CMS has prepared a fact sheet with more information about this process. To view the fact sheet, visit: https://qtso.cms.gov/news-and-updates/remote-identify-proofing-requirements-internet-quality-improvement-evaluation-0
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to HARP can be accessed using the following link: https://harp.qualitynet.org/login/help