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

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 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.

When you need proven expertise and performance

Jim Hook, MPH

Mr. James D. Hook has over 30 years of healthcare executive management and consulting experience in medical groups, hospitals, IPA’s, MSO’s, and other healthcare organizations.

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