Percentage of patients aged 18 years and older who were screened for unhealthy alcohol use using a systematic screening method at least once within the last 24 months AND who received brief counseling if identified as an unhealthy alcohol user
This measure is to be submitted once per performance period for patients seen during the performance period. This measure is intended to reflect the quality of services provided for preventive screening for unhealthy alcohol use. There is no diagnosis associated with this measure. This measure may be submitted by Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians who perform the quality actions described in the measure based on the services provided and the measure-specific denominator coding. For the purposes of the measure, the most recent denominator eligible encounter should be used to determine if the numerator action for the submission criteria was performed within the 24-month look back 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 seen for at least two visits or at least one preventive visit during the measurement period
DENOMINATOR NOTE: *Signifies that this CPT Category I code is a non-covered service under the Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). These non-covered services should be counted in the denominator population for MIPS CQMs.
Denominator Criteria (Eligible Cases):
Patients aged ≥ 18 years
At least two patient encounters during the performance period (CPT or HCPCS): 90791, 90792, 90832, 90834, 90837, 90845, 96156, 96158, 97165, 97166, 97167, 97168, 97802, 97803, 97804, 99201, 99202, 99203, 99204, 99205, 99212, 99213, 99214, 99215, G0270, G0271
Telehealth Modifier: GQ, GT, 95, POS 02
At Least One Preventive Visit during the performance period (CPT or HCPCS): 99385*, 99386*, 99387*, 99395*, 99396*, 99397*, 99401*, 99402*, 99403*, 99404*, 99411*, 99412*, 99429*, G0438, G0439
Telehealth Modifier: GQ, GT, 95, POS 02
Patients who were screened for unhealthy alcohol use using a systematic screening method at least once within the last 24 months AND who received brief counseling if identified as an unhealthy alcohol user
Systematic screening method – For purposes of this measure, one of the following systematic methods to assess unhealthy alcohol use must be utilized. Systematic screening methods and thresholds for defining unhealthy alcohol use include:
• AUDIT Screening Instrument (score ≥ 8)
• AUDIT-C Screening Instrument (score ≥ 4 for men; score ≥ 3 for women)
• Single Question Screening - How many times in the past year have you had 5 (for men) or 4 (for women and all adults older than 65 years) or more drinks in a day? (response ≥ 2)
Brief counseling – Brief counseling for unhealthy alcohol use refers to one or more counseling sessions, a minimum of 5-15 minutes, which may include: feedback on alcohol use and harms; identification of high risk situations for drinking and coping strategies; increased motivation and the development of a personal plan to reduce drinking.
NUMERATOR NOTE: In the event that a patient is screened for unhealthy alcohol use and identified as a user but did not receive brief alcohol cessation counseling submit G9624. Denominator Exception(s) are determined on the date of the most recent denominator eligible encounter.
Performance Met: Patient identified as an unhealthy alcohol user when screened for unhealthy alcohol use using a systematic screening method and received brief counseling (G9621)
Performance Met: Patient not identified as an unhealthy alcohol user when screened for unhealthy alcohol use using a systematic screening method (G9622)
Denominator Exception: Documentation of medical reason(s) for not screening for unhealthy alcohol use (e.g., limited life expectancy, other medical reasons) (G9623)
Performance Not Met: Patient not screened for unhealthy alcohol use using a systematic screening method OR patient did not receive brief counseling if identified as an unhealthy alcohol user, reason not given (G9624)
This measure is intended to promote unhealthy alcohol use screening and brief counseling which have been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption. About 30% of the U.S. population misuse alcohol, with most engaging in what is considered risky drinking. (SAMHSA, 2012) A recent analysis of data from the National Alcohol Survey shows that approximately one-third of at-risk drinkers (32.4%) and persons with a current alcohol use disorder (31.5%) in the United States had at least 1 primary care visit during the prior year, demonstrating the potential reach of screening and brief counseling for unhealthy alcohol use in the primary care setting. (Mulia et al., 2011) A number of studies, including patient and provider surveys, have documented low rates of alcohol misuse screening and counseling in primary care settings. In the national Healthcare for Communities Survey, only 8.7% of problem drinkers reported having been asked and counseled about their alcohol use in the last 12 months. (D'Amico et al., 2005) A nationally representative sample of 648 primary care physicians were surveyed to determine how such physicians identify--or fail to identify--substance abuse in their patients, what efforts they make to help these patients and what are the barriers to effective diagnosis and treatment. Of physicians who conducted annual health histories, less than half ask about the quantity and frequency of alcohol use (45.3 percent). Only 31.8 percent say they ever administer standard alcohol or drug use screening instruments to patients. (CASA, 2000)
Clinical Recommendation Statements
The USPSTF recommends screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings in adults 18 years or older, including pregnant women, and providing persons engaged in risky or hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use. (Grade B recommendation) (USPSTF, 2018)