Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs – What is it and when is the deadline to get funding?
The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records incentive programs will provide EHR incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. With the EHR funding deadline fast approaching, doctors and dentists will not be able to receive funding after the end of December of 2016.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Pub.L. 111–5) was enacted on February 17, 2009. Title IV of Division B of ARRA amends Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act (the Act) by establishing incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs), and Medicare Advantage Organizations to promote the adoption and meaningful use of interoperable health information technology (HIT) and qualified electronic health records (EHRs). Beginning in 2011, the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs were established to encourage eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to adopt, implement, upgrade (AIU), and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
EHR incentive payments totaling as much as $44,000 through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, or as much as $63,750 through the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.Through the EHR Incentive Programs, eligible hospitals, including critical access hospitals (CAHs), can qualify for EHR incentive payments totaling some $2 million or more.
Meaningful Use Definition
The real purpose of using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to is to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. This will also help engage patients and families keeping them informed. As a result, it will improve care coordination, population and public health. If it is kept accurate and secure, the privacy and security will be maintained of patient health information.
Ultimately, these procedures are in place to improve and optimize health care information. By changing the information flow the goal is to get better clinical outcomes by simplifying the process. This will allow improvement in population health outcomes, and increase transparency and efficiency. The end effect is going to allow more research and organization on health development.
The Two Stages of the incentive program.
The incentive program is set into 2 final stages. Stage one final is set by establishing requirements for the electronic capture of clinical data. This includes providing patients with electronic copies of health information.
Stage 2 final is based on stage 1 final with a majority focus on the meaningful use of EHRs supported with the National Quality Strategy. The criteria for the use of health IT for continuous quality improvement at the point of care. Exchange of information with the most structured format possible
In October 2015, CMS released a final rule that specifies criteria that eligible professionals,eligible hospitals, and CAHs must meet in order to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2) and in Stage 3 in 2017 and beyond. See https://www.cms.gov/regulations-and-guidance/legislation/ehrincentiveprograms/basics.html to read more.
- On November 14, 2016 CMS published the Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs; Organ Procurement Organization Reporting and Communication; Transplant Outcome Measures and Documentation Requirements; Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs; Payment to Nonexcepted Off-Campus Provider-Based Department of a Hospital; Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program; Establishment of Payment Rates Under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Nonexcepted Items and Services Furnished by an Off-Campus Provider-Based Department of a Hospital final rule with comment period which contains several changes that will directly affect the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. To access the published rule, please click here.
- On November 4, 2016, CMS published the Medicare Program; Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Model (APM) Incentive under the Physician Fee Schedule, and Criteria for Physician-Focused Payment Models final rule with comment period. MACRA replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate formula by paying clinicians for the value and quality of care they provide. To access the published rule, please click here.
- All Medicaid eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs should refer to their State Medicaid offices for information on attestation time frames for the 2016 program year.
Information for this article was also researched at https://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/meaningful-use-definition-objectives
EHR Funding Deadline – What to do now?
Moving forward into 2017 those doctors and dentists who have not secured funding will be left to transition into electronic health records on their own. Give us a call today at (888) 295-8189 and see how easy it is to get started. The best part about working with us is that you pay nothing up front, and nothing if we don’t get you approved. Hope to hear from you soon as this will be the last month you can start the funding process.