Providers Talk, CMS Listens: CMS Announces Plan to Modify Meaningful Use Requirements

On January 29, 2015, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) electronic health recordannounced its intent to make changes to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs beginning in 2015, which aim to “help to reduce the reporting burden on providers.”

Providers have expressed concerns about the EHR Incentive Programs’ requirements and their burden on providers. In response to those concerns, CMS is considering whether to:

  • Shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate these changes.
  • Realign hospital EHR reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition software into their workflows and to better align with other CMS quality programs.
  • Modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burdens.

CMS is expected to engage in rulemaking this spring to implement these changes to the EHR Incentive Programs. These changes will not be included in the proposed regulations regarding Stage 3 meaningful use requirements and criteria that CMS plans to issue by early March 2015 and which will apply in 2017 and subsequent years.

 

Can’t Complete the Stage 2 MU Summary of Care Measure 3 Test with a CMS Designated Test EHR? CMS Issues New FAQ on Alternative

HCP with stethoscope using phone while on laptopOn January 22, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated previously posted FAQ No. 11666 to help guide providers who are striving to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs implemented by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. The updated FAQ addresses the problem providers are having in meeting Measure 3 under the Stage 2 Summary of Care objective. The question posed is:

“When reporting on the Summary of Care objective in the EHR Incentive Programs, how can eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) meet measure 3 if they are unable to complete a test with the CMS Designated Test EHR (NIST EHR-Randomizer Application)?”

The CMS answer is as follows: Continue reading

AHIMA Issues Guidance on Appropriate Use of Copy and Paste in EHRs

16354859As we have written about in previous posts, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been critical of the copy/paste function that is available in electronic health record (EHR) technology developed by software vendors.  (See “Electronic Health Records in OIG’s Sights for 2013“, October 20, 2012; “OIG recommends fraud safeguards in hospital EHR technology“, December 11, 2013; “OIG Report on CMS’ EHR Audit Practices Concludes The Practices Are Not Very Sophisticated“, February 11, 2014)  As our February 11, 2014 post concludes, while turning off the copy/paste functionalities are not the immediate solution to preventing a misuse of the function, health care providers should implement standards for its use.  The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) recently issued guidance, “Appropriate Use of the Copy and Paste Functionality in Electronic Health Records,” dated March 17, 2014, discussing the availability and appropriate use of the copy and paste function.

AHIMA supports maintaining the copy/paste functionality in ONC’s EHR certification standards and allowing for its use in CMS Conditions of Participation.  AHIMA encourages CMS to augment provider education and training materials on the appropriate use of copy/paste in order to reduce the risk that it may pose to quality of care, patient safety and fraudulent documentation.  Importantly, AHIMA recommends that health care providers implement policies and procedures to guide users of EHRs on the proper use of copy/paste functionalities.  To read the AHIMA guidance, click here.

March 31st Attestation Deadline for Eligible Professionals

strike before midnightReminder:  The deadline for Medicare eligible professionals to attest to meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology for the 2013 program year is just two weeks away.  Attestations are due on March 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST.  Click here for addition information about the EHR incentive program as well as to register or attest to meaningful use.

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.