CMS Provides Detailed Instructions on Deadline Extension for 2013 MU Attestation

strike before midnightOn Friday, February 7, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an extension until 11:59 pm on March 31, 2014 for Eligible Professionals to submit their 2013 EHR Meaningful Use (MU) attestation.  In addition, Eligible Hospitals that had trouble submitting their 2013 MU attestation may be able to retroactively submit their attestation to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment but must contact CMS by March 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm to do so.  Note that only the attestation deadline is being moved. The requirement to meet MU by September 30, 2013 for Eligible Hospitals and by December 31, 2013 for Eligible Professionals in order to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment is not affected.

What’s new from our previous post about this?  Today, CMS published specific instructions on how to take advantage of the extensions of the 2013 MU attestation deadlines in its MLN Connects, Weekly Provider eNews dated Thursday, February 13, 2014.  Scroll to the section titled “New EHR Attestation Deadline for Eligible Professionals: March 31” which provides instructions for both Eligible Professionals and Eligible Hospitals.  CMS also updated the Eligible Professional 2013 attestation deadline on its EHR Incentive Programs home page.

CMS Extends Eligible Professional MU Attestation Deadline until March 31, 2014

On Friday, February 7, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an extension until 11:59 pm on March 31, 2014 for Eligible Professionals to submit their 2013 EHR Meaningful Use (MU) attestation.  In addition, Eligible Hospitals that had trouble submitting their 2013 MU attestation may be able to retroactively submit their attestation to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment but must contact CMS by March 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm to do so.  Note that only the attestation deadline is being moved. The requirement to meet MU by September 30, 2013 for Eligible Hospitals and by December 31, 2013 for Eligible Professionals in order to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment is not affected.

(We would provide a link to this CMS announcement but it currently is not readily available on the CMS EHR Incentive Program website and, in fact, CMS has not yet updated the EP deadline on its home page for the Program. When and if additional details become available on the CMS webpage, we’ll post it here!)

HHS Amends CLIA to Broaden the Patient’s Access Rights to Lab Test Results

by Kathie McDonald-McClure and Elizabeth O’Keeffe

lab_specimensAs we have previously reported on the Wyatt HITECH Law blog on September 14, 2013 and September 23, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has had in the works, for over two years now, revisions to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act of 1988 (CLIA) regulations concerning whether a lab may release test results directly to patients.  On February 3, 2013, HHS announced the release of a Final Rule (Final Rule) amending the CLIA regulations to allow laboratories to give a patient, or a person designated by the patient, his or her “personal representative”, access to the patient’s completed test reports upon the patient’s or patient’s personal representative’s request.  The Final Rule was issued jointly by three agencies within HHS: the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which is generally responsible for laboratory regulation under CLIA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides scientific and technical advice to CMS related to CLIA, and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is responsible for enforcing the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Continue reading

Health Care Providers Need Not Meet Meaningful Use This Year to Remain Eligible for EHR Incentive Payments Next Year!

HITECH EHR Incentive Program PaymentsThe Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program was implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health Act of 2009 (HITECH).  This Program provides incentive payments to Eligible Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals and Eligible Providers (collectively, “eligible providers”) who make a Meaningful Use (MU) of certified EHRs.  Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) No. 9920 issued in November 2013 by CMS about the EHR Incentive Program deals with whether providers must participate in the Program every year in order to stay eligible for the incentives.  FAQ 9920 clarifies that eligible providers do not have to meet MU in the prior year to be eligible for EHR incentives the following year. Continue reading

MU Deadlines for Eligible Professionals

UPDATE: 2/10/2014.  On Friday 2/7/2014, CMS announced an extension until March 31, 2014 for Eligible Professionals to submit their 2013 EHR Meaningful Use (MU) attestation.  In addition, Eligible Hospitals that had trouble submitting their 2013 MU attestation may be able to retroactively submit their MU attestation to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment but must contact CMS by March 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm to do so.  Note that only the attestation deadline is being moved and not the requirement to meet meaningful use by September 30, 2013 for Eligible Hospitals and by December 31, 2013 for Eligible Professionals in order to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment.   (We would provide you a link to the CMS announcement but it currently is not readily available on the CMS EHR Incentive Program website and, in fact, CMS has not yet updated its deadline on its home page for the Program.)

Eligible professionals, such as physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists and chiropractors, should be aware of two upcoming dates related to their participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. The reporting period ends December 31, 2013, and the deadline to attest to “meaningful use” ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 28, 2014. For additional information about the process of attesting to meaningful use, check out CMS’ Attestation Guide for Medicare EPs .