Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CMS Gives Attestation Insights

HDM Breaking News, April 20, 2011  

Attestation for Medicare's electronic health records meaningful use incentive program opened on April 18, and 150 providers successfully attested that day, says Travis Broome, special assistant to the consortium administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Those providers will get their checks in mid-May, he adds. "We're excited to see success right off the bat."

Broome and Jessica Kahn, technical director for HIT at CMS, presented during a Health Data Management-hosted Web seminar on April 20. A replay of the seminar soon will be available at healthdatamanagement.com/web_seminars/.

Broome walked attendees through the attestation screens. The process is rather self-explanatory but he gave pointers in some areas, particularly watching to see which meaningful use objectives can be based off data from all patient records and which objectives must use records only from certified EHRs or EHR modules.

Kahn explained the Medicaid meaningful use incentive program, under which providers register then receive a Web site link to complete a questionnaire. Thirteen states currently are accepting Medicaid MU registration with others rolling out their programs during the course of the year. As of March 31, Medicaid meaningful use incentive payments totaled $64 million--$13 million to eligible professionals and $51 million to hospitals.

Medicaid's meaningful use criteria during the first year of its program are considerably easier to achieve than the Medicare program.

Under Medicaid, providers have to demonstrate a legal or financial commitment to adopt certified EHRs. That means showing an EHR contract, purchase order or user agreement, not just attesting to a commitment, Kahn says. "Planning doesn't cut it, but the pendulum doesn't have to swing all the way to the other side."

Hospitals are able to participate in both meaningful use programs--a hospital that successfully attests under the Medicare program is deemed to be a meaningful user under the Medicaid program.

Eligible professionals must have at least 30 percent of their patients covered under Medicaid to participate in that program; 20 percent for pediatricians. Eligible professionals cannot participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs at the same time, but can switch one time to another program and switch back if desired.
Other tidbits from Broome and Kahn, based on Web seminar attendee questions, include:

* Medicare in the first year will use cost reports on file to determine the size of a hospital's meaningful use payment. When the 2011 cost reports are available the payment will be reconciled and may be higher or the hospital may have to repay some money.
* An eligible professional can send electronic prescriptions from the EP's own user ID, or permit a designee to send the prescriptions from the designee's user ID for the prescription to count toward meeting the meaningful use criteria. Under the CPOE criteria, however, all orders must come from the eligible professional's user ID.

* A physician leaving a practice after having demonstrated meaningful use does not affect the attestation, as the departure wouldn't change the fact that the practice met the criteria during the reporting period.

* A provider can register for attestation with a certain tax ID number in the first year then change to a different number in subsequent years. The only limit is that the tax ID being used must be associated with the national provider identifier.

--Joseph Goedert

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