Percentage of patients aged 12 years and older screened for depression on the date of the encounter or up to 14 days prior to the date of the encounter using an age-appropriate standardized depression screening tool AND if positive, a follow-up plan is documented on the date of the eligible encounter.
This measure is to be submitted a minimum of once per measurement period for patients seen during the measurement period. The most recent screening submitted will be used for performance calculation. 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. The follow-up plan must be related to a positive depression screening, example: “Patient referred for psychiatric evaluation due to positive depression screening.”
NOTE: Patient encounters for this measure conducted via telehealth (e.g., encounters coded with GQ, GT, 95, or POS 02 modifiers) are allowable.
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 12 years and older at the beginning of the measurement period with at least one eligible encounter during the measurement period
Not Eligible for Depression Screening or Follow-Up Plan (Denominator Exclusions) –
- Patients who have been diagnosed with depression – F01.51, F32.A, F32.0, F32.1, F32.2, F32.3, F32.4, F32.5, F32.89, F32.9, F33.0, F33.1, F33.2, F33.3, F33.40, F33.41, F33.42, F33.8, F33.9, F34.1, F34.81, F34.89, F43.21, F43.23, F53.0, F53.1, O90.6, O99.340, O99.341, O99.342, O99.343, O99.345
- Patients who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder – F31.10, F31.11, F31.12, F31.13, F31.2, F31.30, F31.31, F31.32, F31.4, F31.5, F31.60, F31.61, F31.62, F31.63, F31.64, F31.70, F31.71, F31.72, F31.73, F31.74, F31.75, F31.76, F31.77, F31.78, F31.81, F31.89, F31.9
DENOMINATOR NOTE: The intent of the measure is to screen for depression in patients who have never had a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder prior to the eligible encounter used to evaluate the numerator. Patients who have ever been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder will be excluded from the measure.
*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 ≥ 12 years at the beginning of the measurement period
Patient encounter during the performance period (CPT or HCPCS): 59400, 59510, 59610, 59618, 90791, 90792, 90832, 90834, 90837, 92625, 96105, 96110*, 96112, 96116, 96125, 96136, 96138, 96156, 96158, 97161, 97162, 97163, 97165, 97166, 97167, 99078, 99202, 99203, 99204, 99205, 99212, 99213, 99214, 99215, 99304, 99305, 99306, 99307, 99308, 99309, 99310, 99315, 99316, 99318, 99324, 99325, 99326, 99327, 99328, 99334, 99335, 99336, 99337, 99339, 99340, 99401*, 99402*, 99403*, 99483, 99484, 99492, 99493, 99384*, 99385*, 99386*, 99387*, 99394*, 99395*, 99396*, 99397*, G0101, G0402, G0438, G0439, G0444
Documentation stating the patient has had a diagnosis of depression or has had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder: G9717
Patients screened for depression on the date of the encounter or up to 14 days prior to the date of the encounter using an age-appropriate standardized tool AND if positive, a follow-up plan is documented on the date of the eligible encounter
Screening – Completion of a clinical or diagnostic tool used to identify people at risk of developing or having a certain disease or condition, even in the absence of symptoms.
Standardized Depression Screening Tool – A normalized and validated depression screening tool developed for the patient population in which it is being utilized.
Examples of standardized depression screening tools include but are not limited to:
- Adolescent Screening Tools (12-17 years)
Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A), Beck Depression Inventory-Primary Care Version (BDI-PC), Mood Feeling Questionnaire (MFQ), Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-17), and PRIME MD-PHQ-2
- Adult Screening Tools (18 years and older)
Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI or BDI-II), Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Depression Scale (DEPS), Duke AnxietyDepression Scale (DADS), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD), PRIME MD-PHQ-2, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report (QID-SR), Computerized Adaptive Testing Depression Inventory (CAT-DI), and Computerized Adaptive Diagnostic Screener (CAD-MDD)
- Perinatal Screening Tools
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Postpartum Depression Screening Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9), Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory–II, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and Zung Self-rating Depression Scale
Follow-Up Plan – Documented follow-up for a positive depression screening must include one or more of the following:
- Referral to a provider for additional evaluation and assessment to formulate a follow-up plan for a positive depression screen
- Pharmacological interventions
- Other interventions or follow-up for the diagnosis or treatment of depression
Examples of a follow-up plan include but are not limited to:
- Referral to a provider or program for further evaluation for depression, for example, referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, mental health counselor, or other mental health service such as family or group therapy, support group, depression management program, or other service for treatment of depression
- Other interventions designed to treat depression such as behavioral health evaluation, psychotherapy, pharmacological interventions, or additional treatment options
Patients with a Documented Reason for not Screening for Depression (Denominator Exception) –
Patient refuses to participate
Documentation of medical reason for not screening patient for depression (e.g., cognitive, functional, or motivational limitations that may impact accuracy of results; patient is in an urgent or emergent situation where time is of the essence and to delay treatment would jeopardize the patient’s health status)
A depression screen is completed on the date of the encounter or up to 14 days prior to the date of the encounter using an age-appropriate standardized depression screening tool AND if positive, a follow-up plan must be documented on the date of the encounter, such as referral to a provider for additional evaluation, pharmacological interventions, or other interventions for the treatment of depression.
This is a patient-based measure. Depression screening is required once per measurement period, not at all encounters. An age-appropriate, standardized, and validated depression screening tool must be used for numerator compliance. The name of the age-appropriate standardized depression screening tool utilized must be documented in the medical record. This measure does not require documentation of a specific score, just whether results of the normalized and validated depression screening tool used are considered positive or negative. Each standardized screening tool provides guidance on whether a particular score is considered positive for depression. The depression screening must be reviewed and addressed by the provider on the date of the encounter. Positive pre-screening results indicating a patient is at high risk for self-harm should receive more urgent intervention as determined by the provider practice. The screening should occur during a qualifying encounter or up to 14 days prior to the date of the qualifying encounter.
The measure assesses the most recent depression screening completed either during the eligible encounter or within the 14 days prior to that encounter. Therefore, a clinician would not be able to complete another screening at the time of the encounter to count towards a follow-up, because that would serve as the most recent screening. In order to satisfy the follow-up requirement for a patient screening positively, the eligible clinician would need to provide one of the aforementioned follow-up actions, which does not include use of a standardized depression screening tool.
Should a patient screen positive for depression, a clinician should:
- Only order pharmacological intervention when appropriate and after sufficient diagnostic evaluation. However, for the purposes of this measure, additional screening and assessment during the qualifying encounter will not qualify as a follow-up plan.
- Opt to complete a suicide risk assessment when appropriate and based on individual patient characteristics. However, for the purposes of this measure, a suicide risk assessment or additional screening using a standardized tool, will not qualify as a follow-up plan
Performance Met: Screening for depression is documented as being positive AND a follow-up plan is documented (G8431)
Performance Met: Screening for depression is documented as negative, a follow-up plan is not required (G8510)
Denominator Exception: Screening for depression not completed, documented patient or medical reason (G8433)
Performance Not Met: Depression screening not documented, reason not given (G8432)
Performance Not Met: Screening for depression documented as positive, followup plan not documented, reason not given (G8511)
Depression is a serious medical illness associated with higher rates of chronic disease, increased health care utilization, and impaired functioning (Pratt and Brody, 2014). Results from a 2016 U.S. survey data indicated that 12.8 percent of adolescents (3.1 million adolescents) had a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year, with nine percent of adolescents (2.2 million adolescents) having one MDE with severe impairment (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017). The odds of a diagnosis of depression is believed to be 2.6 times greater for children and adolescents exposed to trauma as compared to those unexposed or less exposed (Vibhakar et al., 2019). Children and teens with major depressive disorder (MDD) have been found to have difficulty carrying out their daily activities, relating to others, growing up healthy, and also are at an increased risk of suicide (Siu on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF], 2016).
The same 2016 study indicated that 6.7 percent of adults aged 18 or older (16.2 million adults) had at least one MDE with four point three percent of adults (10.3 million adults) having one MDE with severe impairment in the past year (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017). Moreover, it is estimated 22.9 percent of adult patients with chronic pain (2.2 million adults) were diagnosed with comorbid depression from 2011 to 2015, with an upward trend of prevalence among Black Americans, patients aged 65 to 84 years old, Medicare and Medicaid insured patients, and patients from zip code areas with low annual household incomes (Orhurhu et al., 2020)
Depression and other mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders, especially during the perinatal period, can have devastating effects on women, infants, and families (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2018). It's estimated that the global prevalence of antenatal (or perinatal) depression ranges from 15 to 65 percent, with current or previous exposure to abuse and violence, lack of social support, and family history of mental disorders being risk factors. Depressive symptoms measured during pregnancy have been shown to influence the quality of the postpartum mother-infant relationship (Raine et al., 2020). Additionally, the risk of low birth weight and preterm birth is higher among infants born from depressed mothers (Dadi, Miller, Bisetegn, Mwanri, & 2020).
Negative outcomes associated with depression make it crucial to screen in order to identify and treat depression in its early stages. Data indicates that as the severity of depressive symptoms increase, rates of having difficulty with work, home, or social activities related to depressive symptoms increase. For those twelve and older with mild depressive symptoms, 45.7 percent reported difficulty with activities, and for those with severe depressive symptoms, 88 percent reported difficulty (Pratt & Brody, 2014). Depression also imposes significant economic burden through direct and indirect costs, supporting the need for regular depression screening. "In the United States, an estimated $22.8 billion was spent on depression treatment in 2009, and lost productivity cost an additional estimated $23 billion in 2011" (Siu & USPSTF, 2016, p. 383-Numerous studies have found significant disparities in depression prevalence and treatment among racial/ethnic minorities. One study revealed that Indigenous adults are at a high risk for posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, suicide, substance use disorder, and concurrent behavioral health disorders secondary to these initial health problems (Ka’apu and Burnette, 2019). Additionally, though rates of depression are lower among Blacks and Hispanics than among whites, depression among Blacks and Hispanics is likely to be more recurrent. Furthermore, 48 percent of whites receive mental health services, compared to just 31 percent of Blacks and Hispanics, and 22 percent of Asians (American Psychiatric Association, 2017). Asian Americans and Black Americans are also significantly more likely to utilize emergency rooms for depression treatment, which contributes to inconsistent follow-up care (Lee, et al., 2014).
While Primary Care Providers (PCPs) serve as the first line of defense in the detection of depression, studies show that PCPs fail to recognize up to 46 percent of depressed patients (Borner, et al., 2010). "In nationally representative U.S. surveys, about eight percent of adolescents reported having major depression in the past year. Only 36 percent to 44 percent of children and adolescents with depression receive treatment, suggesting that the majority of depressed youth are undiagnosed and untreated" (Siu on behalf of USPSTF, 2016, p. 360 & p. 364). Furthermore, evidence supports that screening for depression in pregnant and postpartum women is of moderate net benefit and treatment options for positive depression screening should be available for patients twelve and older including pregnant and postpartum women.
This measure seeks to align with clinical guideline recommendations as well as the Healthy People 2020 recommendation for routine screening for mental health problems as a part of primary care for both children and adults (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014) and makes an important contribution to the quality domain of community and population health.
Clinical Recommendation Statements
Adolescent Recommendation (12-18 years):
“The USPSTF recommends screening for MDD in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up (B recommendation)” (Siu on behalf of USPSTF, 2016, p. 360).
Adult Recommendation (18 years and older)
“The USPSTF recommends screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women. Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up (B recommendation)” (Siu & USPSTF, 2016, p. 380).
“The USPSTF recommends that clinicians provide or refer pregnant and postpartum persons who are at increased risk of perinatal depression to counseling interventions. (B recommendation)” (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2019).
The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) health care guideline, Adult Depression in Primary Care, provides the following recommendations:
- “Clinicians should routinely screen all adults for depression using a standardized instrument.”
- “Clinicians should establish and maintain follow-up with patients.”
- “Clinicians should screen and monitor depression in pregnant and post-partum women.” (Trangle et al., 2016 p.. 8 – 10).