American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

CMS Updates 2021 Quality Benchmarks

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently identified inaccuracies in the decile outputs in the 2021 historical quality benchmarks file that are used to determine quality performance category scores for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) 2021 performance period. The historical benchmarks used for the 2021 performance period, which determines MIPS-related payment adjustments for the 2023 payment year, are developed using MIPS performance data submitted for the 2019 performance period. CMS corrected these issues, which affected every measure included in the benchmarks file. As a result of the correction, the range of performance rates for a given decile have shifted down one decile. For example, a range of performance rates that were previously identified for Decile 5 (eligible for 5 – 5.9 quality measure points) are now correctly shown as the range of performance rates for Decile 4 (eligible for 4 – 4.9 points). Surgeons should review the updated benchmark file to understand how this might affect their performance on their selected quality measures. 

Specific details about the updates made to the 2021 benchmarks can be found in the file titled, “2021 Quality Benchmarks Zip File Version History” within the 2021 historical quality benchmarks file. Additional information about 2021 MIPS reporting and scoring can be found on the QPP website. Further questions can be directed to

2021 Advocacy at Home Program: Learn More and Participate

While participating in advocacy through SurgeonsVoice is essential and has already made an impact in Washington, the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy encourages all surgeon advocates to engage in Advocacy at Home, particularly during the month of August when lawmakers look to constituents for updates regarding important issues affecting their districts. 

Be on the lookout for additional announcements about the 2021 Advocacy at Home program, including online tools and resources to schedule in-person or virtual meetings with your elected officials, more information about current ACS legislative priorities and where your voice is critical to ensure Congress acts, plus best practices to successfully advocate at home. 

To learn more about the importance of Advocacy at Home, visit the Advocacy at Home web page or contact