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Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS.




The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, and to allow a second opportunity for public comment on the notice. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including the necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions, the accuracy of the estimated burden, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.


Comments on the collection(s) of information must be received by the OMB desk officer by September 18, 2017.


When commenting on the proposed information collections, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be received by the OMB desk officer via one of the following transmissions: OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, Fax Number: (202) 395-5806 OR, Email:

To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

1. Access CMS' Web site address at​PaperworkReductionActof1995. Start Printed Page 39441

2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to

3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

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William Parham at (410) 786-4669.

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Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires federal agencies to publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice that summarizes the following proposed collection(s) of information for public comment:

1. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Generic Social Marketing & Consumer Testing Research; Use: The purpose of this submission is to extend the approval of the generic clearance for a program of consumer research aimed at a broad audience of those affected by CMS programs including Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and health insurance exchanges. This program extends strategic efforts to reach and tailor communications to beneficiaries, caregivers, providers, stakeholders, and any other audiences that would support the Agency in improving the functioning of the health care system, improve patient care and outcomes, and reduce costs without sacrificing quality of care. The information collected will be used to create a streamlined and proactive process for collection of data and utilizing the feedback on service delivery for continuous improvement of communication activities aimed at diverse CMS audiences.

The generic clearance will allow rapid response to inform CMS initiatives using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative consumer research strategies (including formative research studies and methodological tests) to improve communication with key CMS audiences. As new information resources and persuasive technologies are developed, they can be tested and evaluated for beneficiary response to the materials and delivery channels. Results will inform communication development and information architecture as well as allow for continuous quality improvement. The overall goal is to maximize the extent to which consumers have access to useful sources of CMS program information in a form that can help them make the most of their benefits and options.

The activities under this clearance involve social marketing and consumer research using samples of self-selected customers, as well as convenience samples, and quota samples, with respondents selected either to cover a broad range of customers or to include specific characteristics related to certain products or services. All collection of information under this clearance will utilize a subset of items drawn from a core collection of customizable items referred to as the Social Marketing and Consumer Testing Item Bank. This item bank is designed to establish a set of pre-approved generic question that can be drawn upon to allow for the rapid turn-around consumer testing required for us to communicate more effectively with our audiences. The questions in the item bank are divided into two major categories. One set focuses on characteristics of individuals and is intended primarily for participant screening and for use in structured quantitative on-line or telephone surveys. The other set is less structured and is designed for use in qualitative one-on-one and small group discussions or collecting information related to subjective impressions of test materials. Results will be compiled and disseminated so that future communication can be informed by the testing results. We will use the findings to create the greatest possible public benefit. Form Number: CMS-10437 (OMB control number: 0938-1247); Frequency: Yearly; Affected Public: Individuals; Number of Respondents: 41,592; Number of Responses: 28,800; Total Annual Hours: 21,488. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Allyssa Allen at 410-786-8436126.)

2. Type of Information Collection Request: New collection of information request; Title of Information Collection: Virtual Groups for Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS); Use: CMS acknowledges the unique challenges that small practices and practices in rural areas may face with the implementation of the Quality Payment Program. To help support these practices and provide them with additional flexibility, CMS has created a virtual group reporting option starting with the 2018 MIPS performance period. CMS held webinars and small, interactive feedback sessions to gain insight from clinicians as we developed our policies on virtual groups. During these sessions, participants expressed a strong interest in virtual groups, and indicated that the right policies could minimize clinician burden and bolster clinician success.

This information collection request is related to the statutorily required virtual group election process proposed in the CY 2018 Quality Payment Program proposed rule. A virtual group is a combination of Tax Identification Numbers (TINs), which would include at least two separate TINs associated with a solo practitioner TIN and National Provider Identifier (TIN/NPI) or group with 10 or fewer MIPS eligible clinicians and another solo practitioner (TIN/NPI) or group with 10 or fewer MIPS eligible clinicians.

Section 1848(q)(5)(I) of the Act requires that CMS establish and have in place a process to allow an individual MIPS eligible clinician or group consisting of not more than 10 MIPS eligible clinicians to elect, with respect to a performance period for a year to be in a virtual group with at least one other such individual MIPS eligible clinician or group. The Act also provides for the use of voluntary virtual groups for certain assessment purposes, including the election of practices to be a virtual group and the requirements for the election process.

Section 1848(q)(5)(I)(i) of the Act also provides that MIPS eligible clinicians electing to be a virtual group must: (1) Have their performance assessed for the quality and cost performance categories in a manner that applies the combined performance of all the MIPS eligible clinicians in the virtual group to each MIPS eligible clinician in the virtual group for the applicable performance period; and (2) be scored for the quality and cost performance categories based on such assessment.

CMS will use the data collected from virtual group representatives to determine eligibility to participate in a virtual group, approve the formation of that virtual group, based on determination of each TIN size, and assign a virtual group identifier to the virtual group. The data collected will also be used to assign a performance score to each TIN/NPI in the virtual group. Form Number: CMS-10652 (OMB control number: 0938-NEW); Start Printed Page 39442 Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: Private Sector: Business or other for-profits and Not-for-profit institutions and Individuals; Number of Respondents: 16; Total Annual Responses: 16; Total Annual Hours: 160. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Michelle Peterman at 410-786-2591.)

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Dated: August 15, 2017.

Martique Jones,

Director, Regulations Development Group, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.

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[FR Doc. 2017-17495 Filed 8-17-17; 8:45 am]