Starting down the Road to Demonstrating Meaningful Use with EMRs

by Guest Blogger Tanya Mack

For current EMR users- you will be the trailblazer on this road! You will be among the first to attest and see if the EHR Incentive programs work and actually start paying on those “rebates.” Calendar Year (CY) 2011 will be the year of attestation for Meaningful Use. Then- as CY Yr 2 criteria are defined, we will all begin to learn about “reporting” to continue to the dollar flow.

For non-EMR users, the trick is to start “acting” on making EMR a reality. If you have not started looking, do it. Time to solidify your strategy. Are you going for the EHR Incentives or wait to see what happens? Are you considering ACTB certified EMR products? Do you know if your practice qualifies for the EHR Incentive programs? If you have not done a needs analysis, complete it. If you have not narrowed down your vendor list, narrow it. If you have not signed an agreement to get going, sign it! There is already talk of a backlogged queue if you want to start down the EMR Meaningful Use road.

On January 3rd, registration started for the Medicare program. The Medicaid registration is managed state by state and states may begin registration in 2011 (GA expects to begin in May). Eligible Providers (EP’s) must register for the incentive, use “certified” technology and meet Meaningful Use criteria. All Fifteen core objectives and five “menu” objectives must be met to show “Meaningful Use.”  Each core/menu meaningful use objective has a corresponding clinical quality measure. For this Calendar Year, the measures have thresholds that range from 10-80%. Sounds difficult, but most EMR products are built to meet most of the criteria.

“Certified” technology must be used and an ACTB (Authorized Certification Testing Body) are the certification bodies.   As of Jan 4th, there were 5 ACTB’s and 169 EHR vendors that received certification status for either their complete product or modules of their product listed on the CMS certification website.   The OIG will be monitoring the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare IT upgrades and incentives.

Here is a schedule of important dates for Year 1 of the EHR Incentive Program:

1/3/2011              Medicare EHR Incentive Program Registration opens

4/2011                  Attestation for Medicare Program begins
(Yr. 1 is MU attestation vs. reporting)

5/2011                  Medicare Incentive Program Payments begin

10/1/2011            Last day for EP to begin 90 day reporting period for 2011

12/31/2011          Reporting yr. ends for EP’s for 2011

2/29/2012           Last day for EP to register and attest to receive payment for CY 2011

To register or even start down the road to showing Meaningful Use with a certified EMR, refer to the primary government website for the EHR Incentive information (including certification, registration, attestation, and Meaningful Use ) and visit:

www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms and www.clarityspecialists.com for some value added, downloadable MU tips and tools.

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