April Is Important Month for Meaningful Use

It's AprilApril 1 marks the second quarter for Medicare providers to begin meaningful use. No matter if you are a Medicaid or Medicare provider, attesting involves three months of reporting for meaningful use in 2014.

If you’re participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, the three months must begin at the start of the quarter (i.e., January 1, April 1, July 1,or October 1). Whether you are beginning Stage 1, continuing Stage 1,or beginning Stage 2, you must update your software prior to your three-month reporting period.

The EHR Incentive Program requires eligible providers to integrate meaningful use of certified EHR technologies into their practices in stages. Each stage requires providers to meet specific measures and attest to their completion. Many providers began Stage 1 in 2011 and 2012. Those providers are required to begin Stage 2 in 2014. Providers who began Stage 1 in 2013 will continue with Stage 1 in 2014. Providers who have not participated in the program by 2014 will be subject to Medicare penalties in 2015.

Check out Eyefinity’s Meaningful Use Resource Page for helpful information about Meaningful Use 2014 Edition and certified product solutions.

Health IQ interview with Eyefinity president

The move to electronic health records (EHR), Meaningful Use (MU), and how all of this affects both providers and patients is an important topic. But does EHR and MU create any benefits for providers and patients?
Find out in this Health IQ interview with Eyefinity president, Steve Baker.

Take the Guesswork Out of Meaningful Use – Part 1

To Do: Meaningful UseIn one of our last blog pieces, we talked about timing for meaningful use. You don’t have to start January 1, but rather based on what works for you and your practice. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that Stage 3 would be postponed until 2017, but this does not affect your Stage 2 requirements.

In the meantime, there are a couple of other items that providers are talking about:

  • What is the difference between Stage 1 MU and Stage 2 MU?
  • Is there a difference between a “complete” and “modular” certified Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

Short answer? Yes. There is a difference in both counts. We’ll take a look at modular vs. complete EHR in this piece, and view meaningful use stage differences in future blogs.

CMS states that a certified EHR, “gives assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system or module offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria.” Having a certified product also helps you know that your systems can work with other systems and are secure.

A complete CEHRT (certified electronic health record technology) solution can help you meet, at a minimum, all of the meaningful use criteria. A modular product can help you attest to some of the objectives (but not all) and requires the use of other certified product(s) to meet all of the meaningful use criteria.

Which one should you use? The complete CEHRT or EHR module(s)? It depends on what makes sense for you and your business. To help take the guessing out of this, it is important to work with a company, like Eyefinity, that has experience and a successful track record to help you.

For more information about certified EHRs, you can visit HealthIT.gov. You can also go here for information on meaningful use.

Worried about Attesting for Meaningful Use?

Attestation Table 2014

This graphic shows meaningful use timing.

If you’re concerned about meaningful use (MU) and how you’re going to achieve the objectives in Stage 1 and/or Stage 2, you’re not alone. If you’re a little unsure about the timing of it all, there is plenty of time to get going. And – if you’ve already attested for Stage 1, then you’re right on track for Stage 2.

As a reminder, or introduction for those who aren’t as familiar with the topic, MU is defined as positively affecting patient care through the use of certified EHRs. There are currently three stages of meaningful use (with future stages still in planning/definition):

  • Stage 1 started in 2011
  • Stage 2 begins in 2014
  • Stage 3 begins in 2017

Each stage of MU has required objectives and a menu of “optional” objectives from which to choose. Stage 2 for example has a total of 20 objectives that must be met by eligible providers. This includes 17 core objectives and 3 menu objectives to choose from a list of 6. To receive Federal incentive funds, you must successfully attest.

The most frequent question we’re hearing now is, “What is the timing to attest?” You don’t have to start in January. If you decide that later in the year is better for you and your practice, you can do that as well. There are also some timing requirement differences between Medicaid and Medicare that you should be aware of:

  • Medicaid: any uninterrupted 90-day period
  • Medicare: 90-day requirement starting January 1, April 1, July 1, or October 1.

Eyefinity is ready to help you with your MU planning and requirements as well as all aspects of managing your practice. Learn more here.

(Note: CMS has extended Stage 2 MU attesting through 2016. We’ll update information as we have more specifics.)

The Top Three Things that You Can Do to Minimize the Challenges of Meaningful Use

Steve-BakerWith all the talk about Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the medical industry these days, it is easy to be overwhelmed about the complexity. One aspect of EHR is Meaningful Use (MU) and the associated three stages for attesting. MU presents some challenges, but it can also be an opportunity to improve your business and enrich your patient relationships.

Here are the top 3 things you can do to keep moving forward and ultimately turn those challenges into positive opportunities:

  1. Evaluate your situation
  2. Develop a plan
  3. Use a Certified EHR system

Read more in this article by Eyefinity® president Steve Baker.

The Power Hour with Steve Baker and Ryan Wineinger, OD

powerhour_logo_22march2012_RGBUSE THISEHR, MU stages 1 and 2, cloud computing, improving the patient experience – all important considerations in today’s practice. If you haven’t already, check out Eyefinity® president Steve Baker and Ryan Wineinger, OD, discuss these important topics on The Power Hour Internet radio show, hosted by Gary Gerber, OD.

The Power Hour is optometry’s only live talk radio show that can be heard every Wednesday night at 9p.m. ET, offering a live discussion vehicle for current practice-building events in optometry, political viewpoints and clinical topics.

Listen:

Doctor Anticipates the Convenience of Cloud-based EHR

Dr. SchmidtAmanda Schmidt, OD, of Fresno, Calif., had been an ExamWRITER® user for two years before volunteering to test the conversion to a new cloud-based system called Eyefinity® EHR. She’s expecting it will bring some convenient changes for her. Notably, she won’t have to worry about hardware purchases and maintenance. She’ll be able to access patient records easily from home. “In terms of support, since it’s cloud-based, Eyefinity will be managing it, and that will make it much easier for me.”

For example, even though Eyefinity’s IT support people would manage the updates, those events needed to be scheduled and a support person had to come into the office. Now those updates will be done remotely. For major changes like the conversion to ICD-10 codes, for example, that will be much more convenient. As often as codes change, that simplicity becomes even more important.

Read entire article: Patient Records in the Cloud

Eyefinity to Host FOCUS 2013 October 2nd at Vision Expo West

FOCUS 2013

Learn how technology can enhance the patience experience and improve your bottom line

Rancho Cordova, Calif., September 13, 2013— Improving the patient experience will continue to be a key differentiator in how healthcare providers are perceived. One significant trend in providing exceptional patient experiences is the use of technology. And selecting the right technology can take what used to be considered an amenity, and have it emerge as a critical partner in the healthcare experience both for your patient as well as for your bottom line. If you want to learn how to leverage interactive patient care technology, don’t miss the Eyefinity® event “FOCUS 2013: Embracing Technology Change in your Practice,” on October 2nd at Vision Expo West in Las Vegas.

Read Entire Press Release

Closing Out 2012 Meaningful Use

MSMU VerticalAs 2012 comes to a close, many of you, who are participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, are going to be attesting to meaningful use for the first time. While attesting or reporting your meaningful use might seem like a daunting and nerve-wracking process, it only seems that way because it’s a new experience.

Here are some things to keep in mind and links to additional resources where you can find complete information about meaningful use, attestation, and the EHR Incentive Programs.

Attesting on Time

You must attest to meaningful use after your reporting period, and not during your reporting period. If your attestation period continues through December 31, you may then complete your attestation beginning January 1. For the Medicare EHR Incentive Program you must complete your attestation by February 28, 2013. If you are participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, check with your state’s Medicaid for applicable deadlines.

Even if you can’t officially attest until January 1, you will want to perform steps 1 and 2 below to head off any potential shortcomings.

Navigating the Attestation System

Each doctor must attest individually, you cannot attest as a practice. Follow these steps to ensure your attestation goes smoothly:

  1. In ExamWRITER, click the Reports menu and run the CMS Meaningful Use Reporting and CMS Quality Reporting. For complete instructions, press F1 for help.
    – The meaningful use report lists only those measures that require percentages. The unlisted measures require a simple yes or no answer.
    – If your percentages are low in some of the menu measures, don’t fret. You only need to report on 5 out of the 10 menu set measures, provided one of them is menu 9 or 10.
    – Many of the measures may be satisfied by claiming an allowable exclusion.
    – The clinical quality measures may show low percentages. That’s okay. They don’t have minimum thresholds.
  2. Practice your attestation using CMS’ Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator.
    – If your numbers are low review the “Achieving Meaningful Use with OfficeMate/ExamWRITER” or “Tracking CMS Quality Measures in ExamWRITER” documents, which can be found on our Meaningful Use Starter Kit page. If your attestation period has not ended, there may still be time to correct some shortcomings.
    – If didn’t realize that you were short in a measure until after 2012 was over, look for allowable exclusions. If no exclusion applies to you, it is too late to correct any shortcomings.
  3. Attest to your meaningful use through the Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System.
    – Use the Attestation User Guide for Eligible Professionals for visual, step-by-step instructions.
    – Attestation is self-reported. You do not need to furnish documentation when you attest. Documentation may be required later (see “Surviving an Audit,” below).
    – If you are asked for your EHR Certification Number, refer to this knowledge base article.

Surviving an Audit

Since the EHR incentive programs are government-funded initiatives, audits are an important part of abating fraud and waste in the program. CMS will not release specific information about the nature of the audits, but they have posted some general guidelines on their Frequently Asked Questions page. While OfficeMate/ExamWRITER users have nothing to fear from these audits, we encourage you to save a printed or electronic copy of your meaningful use calculations and any communications that you have had regarding meaningful use. For example, you’ll want to save copies of the following:

  • Meaningful use report calculations
  • Clinical quality report calculations
  • Email showing that you transmitted a CCR to a colleague (core 14)
  • Checklist or documentation from your security audit (core 15)
  • A full screenshot of OfficeMate or ExamWRITER with the About window open (showing the date and the practice license information)
  • Any other documents or communications you have regarding meaningful use

Getting Paid

In theory, you can expect to see your check between six to eight weeks after attesting to meaningful use.

In reality, there are a number of factors that could delay your payment:

  • If you have not yet reached $24,000 in Medicare Part B billings, your payment will be held until you do. Your incentive payment for 2012 is based on 75% of your Part B billings up to a ceiling of $24,000, making the maximum payment $18,000.
  • If you do not bill $24,000 in Medicare Part B billings in 2012, your payment will be sent six to eight weeks after the final day to bill for 2012, which is February 28. So, you won’t see your check until April.
  • If you participated in a state Medicaid incentive program, the payment timeframe varies drastically.

Payments are made on a per-provider basis, and not per practice. Payments are based on a percentage of your allowable Medicare Part B billings. Even if your practice bills under one NPI, the incentive is determined by the rendering provider’s NPI on the CMS 1500.

Continuing Meaningful Use

For 2013, you will once again attest to stage 1, but for the entire calendar year.

For 2014, you will attest to 90 days of stage 2 meaningful use (we’ll be communicating with you about that throughout 2013 and 2014).

Planning to Qualify for a 2012 Federal Incentive Payment?

You must begin 90 days of meaningful use by October 3, 2012! Follow this step-by-step checklist to ensure you’re on track.

Upgrade

Visit myinstallcenter.officemate.net to upgrade to OfficeMate/ExamWRITER® v10, the certified, complete EHR system.

Upgrade as soon as possible to ensure you’re up and running well before the October 3, 2012, deadline to start demonstrating meaningful use.

Review the Hardware & System Requirements to ensure you meet or exceed the minimum hardware and system.

If your hardware doesn’t meet software requirements, contact trusted OfficeMate Certified Partners, North Shore Computer or Think Smart to assist.

Register

Register on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) website by October 3, so you’re ready to demonstrate meaningful use.

Train

Visit the Meaningful Use Resource Center for intuitive resources to quickly get you up and running with v10, and help you understand how to achieve meaningful use.

Don’t miss our Ask the Expert session on meaningful use this Thursday, September 27. Submit your meaningful use questions and listen to what other people are asking. Register now!

Fulfill

Fulfill the mandatory 90 days of meaningful use (October–December 2012).

Use the Meaningful Use Reporting Calculator in ExamWRITER, under the Reports menu, for real-time calculations, and to measure and obtain feedback on your progress.

Collect

Check the Attestation User Guide on the CMS website for the complete attestation process.

Be one of thousands of ODs in the country to qualify and receive your stimulus payment—by using the industry leading EHR system.

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