CHITREC Chosen to Provide Support for Small Practices in CMS Quality Payment Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded a contract to Altarum Institute to help small practices in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Minnesota prepare for and participate in the new Quality Payment Program, established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

The Chicago Health IT Regional Extension Center for the City of Chicago (CHITREC,), based at Northwestern University, in partnership with Altarum, will provide this technical assistance, authorized and funded under MACRA, bringing direct support to thousands of Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians in small practices with 15 or fewer clinicians, including small practices in rural locations, health professional shortage areas, and medically underserved areas across the country. The direct technical assistance is available immediately, free to all MIPS eligible clinicians, and will deliver support for up to a five-year period.

Theresa Walunas, director of  CHITREC and associate director of the Center for Health Information Partnerships (CHiP), said, “We are excited participate in this new collaborative and to continue the Regional Extension Center’s work of helping small practices in Chicago achieve their health information technology and quality improvement goals.” She continued, “We are very happy to have the opportunity to be a trusted partner to many physicians and their staff as they navigate the complicated healthcare landscape.”

CHITREC will provide customized technical assistance to MIPS eligible clinicians in Chicago as a part of the QPP Small, Rural and Underserved Support (QPP-SURS) program, which may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Conveying the MIPS expectations and timelines
  • Explaining the MIPS feedback report
  • Creating a MIPS-score improvement plan
  • Evaluating practice readiness for joining an Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM)
  • Assessing and optimizing Health Information Technology
  • Supporting change management and strategic planning
  • Developing and disseminating education and training materials
  • Enabling peer-to-peer learning and local partnerships

CHiP is part of the Institute of Public Health & Medicine based at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and serves a mission to bring people, communities, and data together to enable everyone to live their healthiest lives. CHITREC, located in CHiP, primarily serves the 606xx zip code region in Chicago and provides a range of education and services for providers interested in maximizing health IT.

CHITREC can be contacted through the Illinois Medicaid EHR Incentive Help Desk at 855-MU-HELP-1 (855-684-3571).

For more information on the Quality Payment Program, visit or contact the Quality Payment Program by calling 1-866-288-8292 or emailing

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