On September 27, 2010, CMS updated its answers and posted a few new ones to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the electronic health record (EHR) incentives available under the HITECH Act’s Meaningful Use (“MU”) Final Rule. Here is a sampling of answers addressed in the FAQs:
- Registration for Medicare MU incentives is to be available on-line in January 2011 with more information to come near end of 2010.
- All EHR products must be certified through the ONC Authorzied Testing and Certification Body (ATCB) in order to meet MU.
- Providers, not vendors, must demonstrate MU of certified EHRs.
- Payment of Medicare MU incentives is expected to begin in May 2011.
- There is no funding to reimburse a provider for EHR implementation costs that exceed the established MU incentive payment caps.
- Ambulatory Surgery Centers are not eligible for the EHR incentives.
- There is no funding under the HITECH Act for nursing home EHRs.
- Eligible Professionals (EPs) may assign their incentive payments to their employer or an entity with whom the EP has a contractual arrangement.
- EPs cannot receive an incentive payment under both the Medicare MU program and the MIPPA E-Prescribing Incentive Program in the same year.
- EPs can receive both the Medicaid MU Program incentive and the MIPPA E-Prescribing Incentive Program payment for the same year.
- An EP in a hospital-based ambulatory care clinic may be eligible to receive the Medicare MU Incentives if such EP is not providing 90% of his or her services in the hospital ED or inpatient care setting.
- EPs eligible for both the Medicare MU incentive and Medicaid MU incentive payment in the same year must choose one.
- Once an EP receives an MU incentive payment under either Medicare or Medicaid, that EP can switch between the programs only once before 2015.
- The reporting period for EPs is 90 consecutive days during the first calendar year that the EP qualifies and a full calendar year thereafter.
- Medicare payment adjustments begin in 2015 for both EPs and hospitals who do not demonstrate MU.
- CMS will publish the names, addresses and business phone numbers of all EPs and hospitals receiving EHR incentive payments.
- The meaning of numerators and denominators in the measures required to establish MU is briefly summarized in this FAQ.
- Patients admitted through the Emergency Department (ED) will be included in the MU measures respecting inpatients.
As of today’s date, there were 103 FAQs related to EHR incentives. To read all the FAQs about EHR incentives, go to the CMS FAQs webpage and enter the search terms “EHR incentives.”