2020 MIPS Measure #331: Adult Sinusitis: Antibiotic Prescribed for Acute Sinusitis (Overuse)

Quality ID 331
High Priority Measure No
Specifications Registry
Measure Type Process
Specialty Emergency Medicine Family Medicine Internal Medicine Otolaryngology Urgent Care

Measure Description

Percentage of patients, aged 18 years and older, with a diagnosis of acute viral sinusitis who were prescribed an antibiotic within 10 days after onset of symptoms



This measure may be submitted based on the actions of the submitting Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinician who performs the quality action, described in the measure, based on services provided within measure-specific denominator coding. This measure is to be submitted once for each occurrence for patients with acute viral sinusitis during the performance period.

Measure Submission Type:

Measure data may be submitted by individual MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, or third party intermediaries. The listed denominator criteria are used to identify the intended patient population. The numerator options included in this specification are used to submit the quality actions as allowed by the measure. The quality-data codes listed do not need to be submitted by MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, or third party intermediaries that utilize this modality for submissions; however, these codes may be submitted for those third party intermediaries that utilize Medicare Part B claims data. For more information regarding Application Programming Interface (API), please refer to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website.



All patients aged 18 years and older with a diagnosis of acute viral sinusitis


Acute Sinusitis/Rhinosinusitis- Up to 4 weeks of purulent nasal drainage (anterior, posterior, or both) accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness, or both:

• Purulent nasal discharge is cloudy or colored, in contrast to the clear secretions that typically accompany viral upper respiratory infection and may be reported by the patient or observed on physical examination. Nasal obstruction may be reported by the patient as nasal obstruction, congestion, blockage, or stuffiness, or may be diagnosed by physical examination
• Facial pain-pressure-fullness may involve the anterior face, periorbital region, or manifest with headache that is localized or diffuse

Denominator Criteria (Eligible Cases):

Patients aged ≥ 18 years on date of encounter


Diagnosis for acute sinusitis (ICD-10-CM): J01.00, J01.01, J01.10, J01.11, J01.20, J01.21, J01.30, J01.31, J01.40, J01.41, J01.80, J01.81, J01.90, J01.91


Patient encounter during performance period (CPT): 99201, 99202, 99203, 99204, 99205, 99212, 99213, 99214, 99215, 99281, 99282, 99283, 99284, 99285, 99304, 99305, 99306, 99307, 99308, 99309, 99310, 99324, 99325, 99326, 99327, 99328, 99334, 99335, 99336, 99337, 99339, 99340, 99341, 99342, 99343, 99344, 99345, 99347, 99348, 99349, 99350


Telehealth Modifier: GQ, GT, 95, POS 02



Patients prescribed any antibiotic within 10 days after onset of symptoms

Numerator Instructions:

INVERSE MEASURE - A lower calculated performance rate for this measure indicates better clinical care or control. The “Performance Not Met” numerator option for this measure is the representation of the better clinical quality or control. Submitting that numerator option will produce a performance rate that trends closer to 0%, as quality increases. For inverse measures, a rate of 100% means all of the denominator eligible patients did not receive the appropriate care or were not in proper control.

Numerator Options:

Performance Met: Antibiotic regimen prescribed within 10 days after onset of symptoms (G9286)


Denominator Exception: Antibiotic regimen prescribed within 10 days after onset of symptoms for documented medical reason (G9505)


Performance Not Met: Antibiotic regimen not prescribed within 10 days after onset of symptoms (G9287)



Antibiotic treatment for sinusitis is indicated for some patients, but overtreatment of acute sinusitis with antibiotics is common and often not indicated. Further, treatment with antibiotics may increase patient harm and can lead to antibiotic resistance.

A 2012 Cochrane systematic review was undertaken to assess the effect of antibiotics in adults with clinically diagnosed rhinosinusitis in primary care settings. Acute rhinosinusitis is a common condition that involves blockage of the nose passage and mucus in the sinuses. It is often caused by a viral upper respiratory tract infection of which only 0.5% to 2% of cases are estimated to be complicated by a bacterial rhinosinusitis. Nevertheless, antibiotics (used to treat bacterial infections) are often prescribed. Unnecessary prescribing contributes to antimicrobial resistance in the community. The authors concluded that given the lack of clear benefit in terms of rapid recovery and the increase in side effects in participants treated with antibiotics, antibiotics are not recommended as first line treatment in adults with clinically diagnosed acute rhinosinusitis.


Clinical Recommendation Statements

The following evidence statements are extracted from the referenced clinical guidelines: AAO-HNS Sinusitis Guideline (2015).

Clinicians should distinguish presumed acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS) from acute rhinosinusitis caused by viral upper respiratory infections and non-infectious conditions. A clinician should diagnose ABRS when (a) symptoms or signs of acute rhinosinusitis (purulent nasal drainage accompanies by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressurefullness, or both) persist without evidence of improvement for at least 10 days beyond the onset of upper respiratory symptoms, or (b) symptoms or signs of acute rhinosinusitis worsen within 10 days after an initial improvement (double worsening).

Strong recommendation based on diagnostic studies with minor limitations and a preponderance of benefit over harm.

The purpose of this statement is to emphasize the importance of differentiating acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS) from acute rhinosinusitis (ARS) caused by viral upper respiratory infections to prevent unnecessary treatment with antibiotics. Distinguishing presumed bacterial vs. viral infection is important because antibiotic therapy is inappropriate for the latter.

A quality improvement opportunity addressed by this guideline key action statement is the avoidance of inappropriate use of antibiotics for presumed viral infections. More than one in five antibiotics prescribed in adults are for sinusitis, making it the fifth most common diagnosis responsible for antibiotic therapy.

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