KHIE issues June Newsletter

HCP with stethoscope using phone while on laptopThe Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE) has issued its June 2014 Newsletter, The KHIE Connection.  This month’s issue includes a summary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that, if finalized, would allow providers to meet Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use with electronic health records (EHRs) that are certified to HHS ONC’s 2011 or 2014 Edition criteria or a combination of both Editions.  Comments to the NPRM must be received by July 21, 2014.  The newsletter also addresses Medicare’s scheduled payment adjustments for 2015 that will impact eligible hospitals and providers who do not timelyattest to Meaningful Use of certified EHRs.  Guidance on attesting to Meaningful Use also is included.

Stage 2 “Meaningful Use”: Counting Patients Who Access Their Online Information Before Discharge

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act), eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must make a “meaningful use” of “certified electronic health technology” or face reductions in Medicare reimbursement during Medicare’s 2015 fiscal year (which begins October 1, 2014).  One of the many Stage 2 requirements includes the following one related to patient on-line access to health records:

Accessing Online Health Records
MU Measure Requires 5% of Discharged Patients to Access Health Information Online

Meaningful Use Core Measures, Measure 6 of 16

“More than 5 percent of all unique patients (or their authorized representatives) who are discharged from the inpatient or emergency department (POS 21 or 23) of an eligible hospital or CAH [must] view, download or transmit to a third party their [online] information during the EHR reporting period.” (Emphasis added.)

A literal reading of this measure prompted hospitals to frequently ask whether a patient who accesses their online health information before they are “discharged” will count towards this meaningful use objective.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted an answer to this question that we like and think hospitals will like as well.  CMS says “yes”.   Continue reading

CMS Issues EHR Meaningful Use Hardship Exceptions for Health Care Providers Subject to 2015 Medicare Reimbursement Reduction (Includes Automatic One-Year Reprieve for 2013 Meaningful Users)

EHR Meaningful Use Hardship ExemptionOn February 28, 2014, we posted an article about ICD-10 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) announcements by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the 2014 HIMSS annual conference.  At that conference, while CMS refused to extend the deadlines for ICD-10 and Stage 2 MU, it promised to be more flexible about providing hardship exemptions on Stage 2 MU for providers and vendors truly struggling to meet the incentive program’s requirements.  CMS said that guidance would be forthcoming.  Yesterday, March 10, 2014, CMS issued such guidance.  The Guidance is directed solely at providers experiencing EHR vendor issues.  Importantly, the Guidance gives an automatic, one-year reprieve for certain providers who demonstrated MU for 2013. Continue reading

No Further Extensions for ICD-10 and MU Stage 2

strike before midnightUpdate:  On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the “Doc Fix” bill, Public Law 113-93, which extends the deadline for ICD-10 for an additional year.  Section 212 of this law prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services from adopting ICD-10 code sets prior to October 1, 2015.

Everyone is a-twitter (pun intended) about the announcement on Thursday, February 27, 2014, from Marilyn Tavenner, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), that the deadline for adoption of ICD-10 will not be extended. Tavenner was the keynote speaker at the HIMSS14 conference, and numerous tweets from HIMSS attendees highlighted her assertion that CMS will stand firm on the October 1, 2014 deadline. All entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must be prepared to use ICD-10 codes on transactions by this date.

Tavenner also affirmed that the deadlines for Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) will not be extended. Providers who are not meaningful users of Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) Technology under the Medicare EHR Incentive Programs will face a penalty, in the form of Medicare payment adjustments. These payment adjustments will be applied beginning on January 1, 2015. Continue reading

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.