Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act), eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals and eligible professionals must make a “meaningful use” of “certified electronic health technology” or face reductions in Medicare reimbursement. Conducting or reviewing a security risk analysis is a core objective in the meaningful use requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (“EHR”) incentive programs. These security risk analyses have been Continue reading
On 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
Update: 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
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 .
On May 22, 2013, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Health & Human Services Department, announced that over 50 percent of doctors and over 80 percent of hospitals are making a “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs) and have received incentives for such use. By comparison, in 2008, just nine percent had adopted EHRs. Secretary Sebelius credits the “dramatic increase” in adoption of EHRs to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) that was passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The HITECH Act awards incentives to eligible professionals (physicians) and hospitals who make a “meaningful use” of EHR technology that has been certified by the HHS Office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC). The HHS press release with further information is available here.