‘Meaningful Users’ of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER Receive $18k in Stimulus Money!

The day has finally come! Federal stimulus payments for providers meeting ‘meaningful use’ of certified electronic health records are now being paid. A group of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 users are among the first in the eyecare industry to receive their incentive payments ($18,000 each).

The group includes optometrists Dr. Kim Castleberry of Plano, Texas; Dr. Lorie Lippiatt of Salem, Ohio; Ryan Wineinger of Shawnee, Kan.; and ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffrey Willig of Syosset, NY. All were part of a beta-test group helping provide analysis of the certified version of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER, which is set for release this summer.

All of us at Eyefinity extend our congratulations to these providers who have proven that achieving meaningful use is possible and the government stimulus funds are attainable.

Wondering how you can qualify for federal stimulus money? Check out Eyefinity’s‘Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use’ materials at http://www.officemate.net/msmu.aspx. From a meaningful use starter kit, to webinars and other training resources, the materials help prepare users for each step they must take to receive federal EMR incentive funds.

Eyefinity will be with you and your practice every step of the way down the path to achieving meaningful use with OfficeMate/ExamWRITER so that you can take full advantage of the available stimulus money.

Dr. Castleberry (top left), Dr. Lippiatt (top right), Dr. Wineinger (bottom left) and Dr. Willig (bottom right)

Dr. Willig shares his EMR journey and success in attesting to Meaningful Use!

Dr. Jeffrey Willig

Congratulations to ophthalmologist Dr. Jeffrey Willig, of Syosset, New York, who recently attested to meaningful use of the certified version of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER. Dr. Willig shares his journey with us below:

For the past 25 years, I’ve been a private practice ophthalmologist. Three years ago, I began looking to upgrade my office’s practice management software, which I had been using for over 20 years.  At the time, it was adequate, but had become outdated.  I searched though many options, but they were all way too expensive for a solo practitioner and I put off the decision to upgrade time and time again.

Then, in 2009 while out for dinner with a cardiologist friend, I learned of the incentive money in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was going to be available to assist in implementing electronic medical records (EMR).  This was the final push I needed to bring my practice into the 21st century.

I had finally made the decision to begin using EMR, but couldn’t find a system that was affordable.  The cardiology practice had spent over $200,000 on software alone, and I knew that was never going to be possible for me.  While attending Vision Expo in 2009, quite by accident I came across the booth for Eyefinity/OfficeMate.  I had been using Officemate to run my optical business since 1996, but had no idea they offered an EMR system.

Immediately, I knew this was the solution I had been seeking.  It differed from everything else on the market in the ease of data entry, efficiency and affordability.  I purchased it on the spot and have been on the forefront of EMR ever since.

Officemate/ExamWRITER has streamlined my office practice in many ways.  This includes saving time in scheduling appointments, documenting and retrieving exams, eprescribing,  automatically generating consult letters and patient reports, coding, billing and posting payments. The technology has also impressed our patients, as they realize and appreciate that we are using a cutting edge system in our medical practice.

The system has already paid for itself in time saved by both myself and my staff.  Now, I am about to realize the added bonus of the first installment of $18,000 in stimulus money. On April 24th, 2011, I successfully attested to 90 days of meaningful use.  The process took less than 20 minutes.  While the CMS website indicates upwards of 15 hours would be required to collect the data and attest, Officemate/ExamWRITER’s built-in Meaningful Use Reports automates the process and produces the data in seconds.

With government incentive money still on the table for you to collect, I strongly urge you to add a certified EMR system like OfficeMate/ExamWRITER into your practice if you haven’t already done so.

Attesting to Meaningful Use: A Success Story

Today’s entry comes from Lorie Lippiatt, OD.

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt has attested to meaningful use with the help of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10.

To some, coming back to work after the New Year’s Day always feels like a quiet, somber return to reality after the fun festivities of the holidays. But at my practice, it was an exciting return from Christmas break. The office was abuzz because we were going live with our certified software!

We implemented OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 on January 3, 2011, which was the first day we were eligible to demonstrate meaningful use (MU), and began our 90-day attestation period. After registering on the CMS Web site, we were ready to go!

Although we have used OfficeMate/ExamWRITER for many years, the first couple of weeks were a learning experience for my staff and me. Due to the requirements of the MU objectives, we needed to make a point of more carefully documenting our interactions with the patients in OfficeMate and ExamWRITER to ensure that we were meeting the MU Objectives. Thankfully, the fields were clearly identified throughout the program, which made the process easy and straightforward.

Initially, we ran the MU reports in the software daily. We did this to ensure that everyone on staff was participating fully and to spot any critical areas where our documentation was not meeting the MU objectives. Once we identified and resolved any potential weaknesses and felt confident in our understanding and implementation of the MU criteria, we ran our reports weekly, and then monthly. In the meantime, our quality of patient care was improving!

When the 90-day period ended, and CMS announced we could attest on April 18th, we were ready! In preparing to attest to meaningful use, I took a pretest that CMS offered online to verify our readiness and determine if our reporting would be accepted. It was! So, on April 18, 2011, I logged in to the attestation site, and, using the numerical values provided to me through reporting built into OfficeMate, I successfully attested to meaningful use for 2011 in about 30 minutes.

We should be receiving our check sometime before June this year. I plan to reinvest in my practice with the incentive money, and to incentivize my staff with a bonus for their help in participating in the process!

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt is a 1988 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry; she founded the Salem Eyecare Center, Inc., in 1989. Today, the center is a 5,500-square-foot facility that encompasses a complete children’s vision center.

Dr. Kirchner Explains Meaningful Use Objectives and Exclusions

Eyefinity’s Chief Professional Officer, James Kirchner, OD, continues his series to help you understand meaningful use objectives and exclusions:  

Dr. Kirchner

In my previous Trends and Tactics e-mail, we made it through all of the CMS meaningful use objectives. As you’ll remember, there are 25 objectives—defined in the CMS Final Rule. Of those objectives, 15 are considered core, and CMS expects the Eligible Professional (EP) to fulfill them. The remaining 10 are menu objectives and CMS allows EPs to fulfill just 5.

Last year I stated that CMS provided a set number of exclusions that an EP can use for a designated objective, and that by claiming the exclusion, the objective is fulfilled.

In this edition, I’m presenting the designated exclusions with their particular objective. Objectives not included on this list don’t have exclusions. Again, you only need to fulfill 5 menu objectives, so exclusions become very valuable in regard to fulfilling the 15 core objectives.

Core Objectives:

1. CPOE (Computer physician order entry) for medication orders

More than 30% of unique patients with at least 1 medication in their medication list seen by the EP must have at least 1 medication order entered using CPOE

Exclusion – EP writing less than 100 prescriptions during reporting period

2. Record and chart vital signs

Height, weight, blood pressure, calculate and display BMI, and plot/display growth charts (for children 2 – 20 years old), including BMI; for more than 50% of all unique patients over age 2 have height, weight, and blood pressure recorded as structured data

Exclusion – EP seeing no patients 2 years or older or believes that all three vital signs of height, weight, and blood pressure have no relevance to their scope of practice

3. Record smoking status for patients 13 years old or older

More than 50% of all unique patients 13 years or older seen by the EP must have smoking status recorded as structured data

Exclusion – An EP who sees no patients 13 years or older

4. Generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically (eRx)

More than 40% of all permissible prescriptions written by the EP are transmitted electronically using certified EHR technology

Exclusion – EP writing less than 100 prescriptions during reporting period

5. Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information

Including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, medication allergies, discharge summary, procedures upon request; more than 50% of all unique patients of the EP who request an electronic copy of their health information are provided it within 3 business days

Exclusion – EP that has no requests during the reporting period

6. Provide clinical summaries for patients for each office visit

Clinical summaries provided to patients for more than 50% of all office visits within 3 business days

Exclusion – EP that has no office visits during the reporting period

Menu Objectives (Only Need to Satisfy 5 Out of 10):

1. Implement drug-formulary checks

The EP has enabled this functionality and has access to at least one internal or external drug formulary for the entire EHR reporting period

Exclusion – EP who writes fewer than 100 prescriptions during reporting period

2. Incorporate clinical lab-test results

On to certified EHR technology as structured data

Exclusion – EP who orders no lab tests whose results are either a positive/negative or numeric format during reporting period

3. Send reminders to patients per patient preference for preventive/follow-up care

More than 20% of all unique patients 65 years or older, or 5 years old or younger were sent an appropriate reminder during the EHR reporting period

Exclusion – EP who sees no patients 65 years or older, or 5 years or younger with records maintained using EHR technology during reporting period

4. Provide patients with timely electronic access to their health information

Including lab results, problem list, medication lists, medication allergies within 4 business days of the information being available to the EP; more than 10% of all unique patients seen by the EP are provided timely (available to the patient within 4 business days) electronic access to their health information subject to the EP’s discretion to withhold certain information

Exclusion – EP that neither orders nor creates lab tests or information that would be contained in the problem list or medication list during the reporting period

5. The EP who receives a patient from another setting of care, or provider of care, or believes an encounter is relevant should perform medication reconciliation EP performs medication reconciliation for more than 50% of transitions of care in which the patient is transitioned into the care of the EP

Exclusion – EP who was not the recipient of any transitions of care during the reporting period

6. The EP, who transitions their patient to another setting of care or provider of care or refers their patient to another provider of care, should provide summary of care record for each transition of care or referral

EP, provides a summary of care record for more than 50% of transitions of care and referrals

Exclusion – EP who neither transfers a patient to another setting nor refers a patient to another provider during the reporting period

7. Capability to submit electronic data to immunization registries or Immunization Information Systems and actual submission in accordance with applicable law and practice

Performed at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capacity to submit electronic data to immunization registries

Exclusion – EP who administers no immunizations during the reporting period or where no immunization registry has the capacity to receive the information electronically

8. Capability to submit electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies and actual submission in accordance with applicable law and practice

Performed at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capacity to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies

Exclusion – An EP who does not collect any reportable syndromic information during the reporting period or does not submit such information to any public health agency that has the capacity to receive the information electronically

Using exclusions allows you to fulfill meaningful use, but they’re options only. Colleagues have told me that they plan to fulfill all of the 25 objectives and not use exclusions. That is a bold commitment, but not necessary to fulfill meaningful use in Stage 1.

Remember to register with CMS now. You don’t have to have your certified EMR in place to register.

Check out this excellent CMS Registration video tutorial.

Have you registered for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program? Don’t delay! Register today!

Haven’t registered for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program? Not to worry! Kim Castleberry, O.D., of Plano Eye Associates walks you through the process, step-by-step, in the video below.  Remember: Even if you don’t have your certified EMR in place yet, you can and should register now.

We thank Dr. Castleberry for providing this important video!

Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 2

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

Dr. James Kirchner

In a previous article, I took you through the first six Meaningful Use (MU) objectives in the “core” group as established by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). In this edition, I’m going to explain the remaining nine MU objectives. Remember, CMS divided the 25 meaningful use objectives into two groups: the first group of 15, called “core” objectives, and the second group of 10, called “menu” objectives. The directive from CMS is that eligible providers must complete all 15 core items and at least five of the 10 menu items, for a total of 20, to meet MU requirements. As I’ve mentioned before, there are exclusions available to the eligible provider, allowing noncompletion of an objective, yet fulfilling MU. I will address these exclusions in a future Trends and Tactics.

If you missed the first six from the last article, you can still read it on our blog. Remember, for all of these easy-to-accomplish MU objectives, OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will provide the necessary tools that allow you to fulfill the requirements.

Here are the remaining nine core objectives:

1.     CPOE (Computer Physician Order Entry) for medication orders
More than 30% of unique patients, with at least one medication in their medication list as
seen by the EP, must have at least one medication ordered using CPOE.

2.     Implement drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks.
The EP has enabled this functionality for the entire EHR reporting period.

3.     Implement one clinical decision support rule and the ability to track compliance
with the rule.

OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will give you this ability.

4.     Report clinical quality measures to CMS or the state.
Extension of PQRI reporting using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10

5.     Protect electronic health information created or maintained by the certified EHR technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities.
OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will provide this functionality.

6.     Generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically (eRx).
More than 40% of all permissible prescriptions written by the EP are transmitted
electronically using certified EHR technology.

7.     Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information (including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, medication allergies, discharge summary, procedures), upon request.
More than 50% of all unique patients of the EP who request an electronic copy of their
health information are provided it within three business days.

8.     Provide clinical summaries for patients for each office visit.
Clinical summaries provided to patients for more than 50% of all office visits within three
business days

9.     Capability to exchange key clinical information electronically (for example, problem list, medication list, medication allergies, diagnostic test results) among providers of care and patient authorized entities
Performed at least one test

Now you have seen all 15 core objectives that provide meaningful use. In my next article, we’ll look at the 10 menu objectives. Remember, your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to easily fulfill the objectives. OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 is certified and will give you those tools. We want to enable you to qualify for the funds associated with meaningful use and help you provide the best care to your patients. The time to register for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is now, even if you don’t have your certified EMR in place. We encourage you to register now.

Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use: We’ll Show You How (cont’d)

Dr. James Kirchner

A message from Eyefinity/OfficeMate’s Chief Professional Officer, Dr. James Kirchner:

As you know, eligible professionals will need to be using a “Certified” EHR system to attest to meaningful use and collect their incentive payments. OfficeMate/ExamWRITER version 10 became “certified” by CCHIT (one of the three ATCBs) on October 29, 2010, as a “Complete EHR.”  This means that you’ll be able to use our certified version to provide meaningful use for at least 90 consecutive days during 2011. Registration can begin after January 1, 2011, at a yet to be named CMS Web site. During 2011, after you’ve fulfilled the meaningful use objectives, you’ll be eligible for incentive pay. That’s up to $18,000 per provider in your practice for 2011, and a grand total of up to $44,000 over 5 years!

I’ve asked two colleagues—Lorie Lippiatt, OD, and Kim Castleberry, OD,—to share their thoughts regarding provider skepticism that government will not fulfill the promise of incentive payments to eligible providers:

There are many skeptics out there who insist there will be no money to eligible providers, even after following the government guidelines. These are probably the same skeptics who have not kept up to date with PQRI reporting over the past three years, and who have not deployed ePrescribing. If they had been reporting PQRI codes and been using ePrescibing for the past two years, they would have realized the payments for these programs are being distributed and would have a check in the bank. In fact, we’ve received both of our PQRI government incentive checks and our eRx payments in the fall of 2010 for the year 2009. As for those skeptics who insist the program will dissolve because of the impacts of the congressional changes, we point out that meaningful use funds are secure as they are drawn from the Medicare Trust Funds held by the U.S. Treasury, and are therefore not subject to annual Congressional budget appropriations or oversight.

Now is the time to deploy OfficeMate, and more specifically, ExamWRITER, so you too can be eligible to receive your bonus incentive checks. We are sure glad we did!

And remember, we’re here to provide valuable resources and tools to help you establish meaningful use.  Join us for an upcoming Webinar, January 25 and January 27, 2011, at 8am and 5pm PT, featuring a presentation and discussion of the required meaningful use components.

Visit eyefinityofficemate.com for more information on achieving meaningful use, applying for stimulus funds, and registering for a Webinar. We’ll show you how.

Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 1

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

Dr. James Kirchner

At Eyefinity/OfficeMate, we are celebrating the certification of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10. We are excited to be able to produce a certified EHR, which is a critical component of your meaningful use (MU) strategy.

Now it’s time to help you understand the MU objectives. As I promised in my previous articles, I’ll give you the specifics of the 25, MU criteria, so that you can be confident in your ability to use your certified software in a meaningful way. My goal is your success in getting your portion of the stimulus money—all $44,000.

There are 25 objectives as established in the Final Rule by CMS, I’m going to detail all 25 over the next few blog articles. I’ll make them very practical to understand. I’ll begin by detailing the first 15 which are called “core” objectives and CMS expects eligible providers (EPs) to perform all 15. The second set is called “menu,” and you will be expected to perform 5 out of the 10 menu objectives. Therefore, a total of 20 out of the 25 objectives will need to be accomplished for successfully using your certified EHR in a meaningful way.

There are exclusion provisions that have been established, so that you can decide if any of the 15 should be excluded by you. I’ll address the exclusions in the future. For now, let’s go through the list. I’m going to group the objectives by 3 major categories for the sake of clarity. I’ll do the first category in this edition and the other categories in next few blog articles.

Category 1: Recording and Securely Storing Specific Patient Data

  1. Record Demographics
    Record the patient’s preferred language, gender, race, ethnicity, and date of birth.
  2. Maintain a Problem List
    Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses.
  3. Maintain an Active Medication Allergy List
    Maintain a list of patient medication allergies. If the patient hasn’t any medication allergies, you must record as none.
  4. Maintain an Active Medication List
    Maintain a list of patient medications. If the patient isn’t taking any medications, you must record as none
  5. Record and Chart Vital Signs
    Record height, weight, blood pressure, calculate and display BMI, plot and display growth charts for children 2–20 years of age, including BMI.
  6. Record Smoking Status
    Record the smoking habits of patients 13 years and older.

There you have the first set of MU objectives. Remember that your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to accomplish the tasks listed above, but it will be up to you to do the work.

I know that many of you will be concerned with some of the objectives listed. I mentioned that the CMS Final Rule makes allowances for exclusions. The topic of exclusions is worthy of a complete edition of Trends and Tactics, so stay with me through this series, and I’ll explain them.

Understanding Meaningful Use

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

In my last post, I challenged each of you to begin the process of utilizing electronic medical records (EMR). I want to reinforce that call to action; you need to adopt a certified EMR, like ExamWRITER, now. The government wants you to use EMR, not in a superficial manner, but in a meaningful way. That desire is the basis for the incentive payments that will be available to all eligible providers.

Meaningful use is the foundation for the entire government incentive payment initiative, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. It’s like trying to drive down a foggy road without a clear view of where we are headed. It shouldn’t be this way. Meaningful use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts. Over the next 5 years, the healthcare industry is being asked to move to a high-level use of electronic record keeping and information exchange in anticipation that it will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of American healthcare. In order to reach this goal, the meaningful use of EMRs will progress through 3 stages over this period of time. The first stage will be over years 2011 and 2012 and, according to the Final Rule, has specific meaningful use objectives that eligible providers must satisfy to qualify for incentive pay.

The objectives (or measures) are not difficult and, if not a part of your typical workflow, can be easily added. Your certified EMR will provide you with the tools to satisfy the meaningful use objectives. There are 25 meaningful use objectives, 15 that are called “core” and 10 that are named “menu”. The government is requiring that all 15 core objectives be met during your reporting period and that 5 out of 10 menu objectives be met, with your choosing the 5 that you meet. There is room for exclusion in these core and menu objectives if you cannot perform them, due to an objective being outside of your scope of license, or if you do not have any patients that would allow you to meet the objective. In these cases, you would simply identify that item as an exclusion and it would qualify as having performed the objective. However, there is a lot that is unclear about this exclusion language, and it doesn’t appear to me that it will be allowed frequently or on a recurring basis.

I feel that the easiest way to understand meaningful use is to recognize the government’s objectives in the first stage. The 3 basic criteria include use of a certified EHR:

  • In a meaningful manner including e-prescribing, data storage, and retrieval
  • For electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of healthcare
  • To submit clinical quality and other measures

The 25 meaningful use objectives fit within those 3 areas. In my next column, we will look a little deeper at examples of these objectives. It’s my desire to help you understand this whole program, to be comfortable with its demands, and to give you the tools to achieve meaningful use of your EMR. My immediate challenge to you is to begin using your EMR, or if you haven’t purchased ExamWRITER yet, do so and begin the implementation process. There is no need to wait—begin the EMR process now.

For more information: Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Eyefinity Introduces ‘Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use: We’ll Show You How’

The government wants you to use Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in a meaningful way. Meaningful Use is the foundation for the entire government stimulus payment initiative under the HITECH Act, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. But, Meaningful Use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts, and Eyefinity® is here to help you every step of the way.

Get an overview of Meaningful Use and what it means to you and the eyecare industry with our first Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use Webinar series, featuring Eyefinity’s Chief Professional Officer,  James Kirchner, OD, and his guest, Jeffrey Willig, MD.

Four Times for You to Choose From:

November 16—8:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. (PST)

November 18—5:00 p.m. (PST)

November 19—8:00 a.m. (PST)

Register early—there are a limited number of seats for each Webinar.

To register for your desired date and time:

1. Go to http://officemate.webex.com.

2. Click the Daily tab.

3. Use the calendar within the Daily tab to select your desired course date (November 16, 18, or 19).

4. Click the Register link on the right side of the Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use Webinar for which

you want to enroll.

5. Type your registration information.

6. Click Register.

You’ll receive an e-mail confirmation of your registration with the course’s password, registration ID, and the link you’ll need to join the course. Please join the Webinar 5 minutes prior to the start time; you’ll be unable to join a course 10 minutes after it begins. You must have a high-speed Internet DSL, cable, or T1 connection to successfully participate in the Webinar.

If you have questions or need more information, contact the Eyefinity Training Department at:

ossu@eyefinityofficemate.com or 800.942.5353, option 3.