Software Solutions/EHR

Transition to Electronic Health Records and Net $44,000 from the Federal Government

Wes Strickling Codex Techworks

By Wes Strickling

You have an opportunity to obtain as much as $44,000 over the next five years to transition your practice from physical health records to electronic records. But first you need tomeet the requirements–including possessionand meaningful use of EHR software–to receive government incentives.

Step 1: Find Out If You’re Eligible
Doctors of optometry are considered Eligible Providers (EPs) for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).Program enrollment began January 3, 2011.You can enroll any time.Participation is voluntary until 2014 when you must enroll, or you’ll face reduced Medicare payments as a penalty. If you are already participating in Physicians Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) Incentive Program, you can also participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. But if you are already participating in the e-Prescribing Incentive Program, you may not simultaneously participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program; you must choose between the two. Wondering about Medicaid EHR Incentives?That program is being deployed by each individual state.Note that at presentODscurrentlyare NOT eligible for the Medicaid incentive, ONLY the Medicare.

GetReady
to Enroll

Before you enroll online, you’ll need your:

1. National Provider Identifier (NPI)

2. National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) User ID and Password

If you don’t have an NPI or NPPES account, visit NPPES to apply and/or register for an account.

Step 2: Calculate How Much Money for Your Practice
The maximum payment for 2011 is $18,000 per eligible provider (EP).Each OD in your practice can collect, but each can only receive a maximum of $18,000 during 2011, regardless of how many locations they practice in. An extra incentive of $1,800 can be received if you’re practicing in a Health Professional Shortage Area. The maximum total payment per eligible provider is $44,000 over five years. To receive this full amount, you must enroll and demonstrate Meaningful Use of a certified EHR program during 2011.

Meet Meaningful
Use Requirements

To qualify for government incentives, you must show your use of EHR software is “meaningful.”

1. Use of certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as
e-prescribing.

2. Use EHR to electronically exchange health information to improve quality of care.

3. Use of certified EHRs to submit clinical quality measure (CQM) and other such measures selected by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

During Stage 1 of Meaningful Use (2011 and 2012), eligible providers must meet 20 of 25 objectives. 15 core measures must be met, as well asfive additional measures that can be selected by each ECP from a menu set of 10 measures.

You must also reportsix Clinical Quality Measures (CQM), includingthree core andthree additional measures chosen from a menu set of 38 additional measures. You can download a list of these CQMs here.

Stages 2 and 3 of Meaningful Use have not yet been developed. But CMS has told us that they expect to develop and implement Stage 2 during 2013, while Stage 3 will be implemented in 2015.

Step 3: Proof of Meaningful Use
After you sign up for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, there is a 90-day reporting period, followed by an attestation that you’ve not only implemented a certified EHR, but you’re meeting the meaningful use guidelines [see box to right].

Attesting is similar to filing your taxes online; you provide information and then verify with an electronic signature that it is true. It can be done for any 90-day reporting period following your enrollment.Enroll as soon as possible so you can maximize your incentive dollars. Even if you’re still in the process of deciding on and implementing a certified EHR, go ahead.You are not required to provide information about your EHR technology until you attest.

Keep in mind that October 1, 2011, will be the last day to start a 90-day reporting period during this calendar year if you want to receive an incentive payment for 2011.

Know Your EHR Transition Resources
When you’re ready to go, click here to enter the online enrollment portal.

While the registration wizard provides fairly easy to follow prompts, you might want to have the Registration User Guide on hand in case you need a little help.It includes screen-by-screen illustrations and detailed directions on how to navigate through the entire system.

You also can visit the CMS Registration and Attestation page before you dive in. For a complete overview of EHR Incentive Programs, visit the CMS website at www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms.

Click here to read”EHR: Get On Board for Your Patients”on ROB Blog.

Wes Strickling is the founder and technical architect of Codex Techworks, a consultancy and outsource providerspecializing in technology for ECPs. To contact him: wes@codextechworks.com.

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