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Claim Your EHR Meaningful Use Incentives in the HITECH ACT as Early as May 2011

Jim Hook, MPH

Eligible Professionals (EP’s) can begin their 90-day period of EHR Meaningful Use as early as January 1, 2011.

Here are some things to check as you get ready to claim your incentives for EHR Meaningful Use under the HITECH Act.  This information is based on Eligible Professionals qualifying for the Medicare incentives.

 

Preparation for EHR Meaningful Use Attestation

1)      Start talking to your vendor about their plans to submit their EHR software for certification as “Certified EHR Technology”.  The system does not have to be certified as of January 1, but it does need to be certified by the end of the 90-day period you are using to attest to your EHR Meaningful Use.

2)      Keep in mind that if you are using a stand-alone EMR product with an existing legacy practice management (PM) system, the system needs to be Certified EHR Technology also.  This is because some of the functions of a certified system, such as recording patient demographics electronically, are most likely functions of your PM system, not the EMR product.  So talk to that vendor, too.

3)      Verify that any EP attesting to meeting EHR Meaningful Use objectives provides 10% or more of his/her Medicare services in an outpatient setting (not inpatient or in a hospital ED).  CMS will look at the percent of services rendered in an outpatient setting for the fiscal year ending 09/30/2010 to determine the IP/OP percentages.  Your EHR healthcare consultant must be qualified to do the analytical and reporting work in preparing the self-attestation report, based on the current fiscal year and the EHR Meaningful Use objectives in place,  starting January 2011.

4)      Make sure all EPs you are planning to certify for EHR Meaningful Use have an NPI number and are enrolled in PECOS.

5)      For EPs in group practices, confirm the tax Id number – group or personal – of each provider for payment of the incentive amount.  Payments can be made to either number.

6)      CMS will be establishing an Internet-based enrollment process for EPs planning to apply for incentive payments. Keep checking the CMS  site for the Registration process, and enroll when it is available.

7)      As soon as you start the clock on your 90-day period, make sure you are meeting all the EHR Meaningful Use objectives applicable to your practice, and,  for objectives with numerical thresholds, that you are attaining the levels specified.  If your EHR system is Certified EHR Technology, it should be capable of supporting all  Stage 1 Meaningful Use objectives.

8)      Monitor the CMS website on EHR Incentive Programs to determine the format of the attestation for 2011.  And keep in mind that accuracy is paramount; attesting to EHR Meaningful Use is making a claim to a Federal program.  And the penalties for false claims are significant!

Attestations can be completed as early as April, 2011, and CMS has stated payments will be made in May.   For EPs seeking incentive payments under the Medicaid / Medical program, visit the CMS website for further information.

4 Comments to “Claim Your EHR Meaningful Use Incentives in the HITECH ACT as Early as May 2011”

  1. Hi Jim:
    Will you elaborate on #3 above more? “Your healthcare consultant must be qualified to do the analytical and reporting work……”

    Do you mean the E.H.R. system they select need to have this capability?

  2. Hi Patricia! It’s actually both. Certified EHR technology must be able to report on the Meaningful Use objectives that have metrics – measures of performance.

    Consultants must understand the Meaningful Use objectives that apply to a given practice, and advise the practice on which objectives to implement. Then you have to be able to assist the practice in developing the reports for objectives with measures so when a physician attests to Meaningful Use, he or she has the back-up to prove it later, if needed.

  3. So when will the format be out for attestation? Also, for reporting – what type of information will be required and how will it be reported?

  4. The format for attestation is still not out, either for Eligible Professionals or for hospitals. We expect CMS to have the registration form available on line around the end of 2010. There will be a two-step process, registration followed by attestation (on the CMS website) of using certified EHR Technology and achieving Meaningful Use. This website at CMS provides the information: http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/01_Overview.asp#TopOfPage.

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