90-day Meaningful Use Reporting Period for 2016 and 2017

Meaningful_Use_sticknoteEarlier this month, CMS quietly finalized the 90-day reporting period for meaningful use in 2016 and 2017. This means participants have the option of reporting only 90 continuous days of meaningful use. This should come as welcome relief for eligible providers who are in danger of not meeting certain thresholds. The 90-day reporting period gives the provider the ability to report the 90 days in which he or she performed well.

The 90-day reporting period in 2017 should come as no surprise as meaningful use morphs into the Advancing Care Information category in the Quality Payment Program. CMS has given eligible clinicians (ECs) the option to pick your pace. This means ECs can choose minimal reporting, reporting 90 days, or reporting the full year of MIPS in 2017.

CMS press release (look for “Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program”)

 

Announcing #DoctorKnowsBest Webinar Series!

As doctors, we look to each other for advice on tough decisions about our practices and patients. We have so much to consider every day: patient satisfaction, complex government regulations like MIPS, and the bottom line.

That’s why I decided to start #DoctorKnowsBest, a doctor-led webinar series. I’ve invited expert guest doctors to give advice and answer the crucial questions doctors face on a daily basis. Their presentations will cover a variety of relevant topics including the latest features and best practices of EHR, and how to grow your practice.

Tomorrow afternoon, Robert Bass, OD will share how he chose the right EHR solution for his practice, and what you should consider when purchasing yours.

  • Title: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em – EHRs Are Here to Stay
  • Date: November 16
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. PT

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You can register for his webinar here: http://ow.ly/HwvX3060PLj

I’ll be using Facebook and Twitter to share highlights from the webinars that you can like, comment on, and share by searching for the hashtag #DoctorKnowsBest on Facebook and Twitter, as well as including it in your tweets and Facebook posts. Here’s an example of how you can join the conversation on Twitter:

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I look forward to sharing this opportunity with you for collective growth and learning. Join us throughout November and December for #DoctorKnowsBest!

3 Options to Participating in MIPS that Will Make You Breathe a Sigh of Relief

MIPS data collection begins January 1, 2017. However, CMS has provided some flexibility to help eligible clinicians (ECs) ease their way into the brave new world of MIPS. This means that if you’re eligible to participate in MIPS, choosing one of these options would ensure that you don’t receive a payment penalty in 2019.

Option 1: Submit Something

As long as you report some data from after January 1, 2017, you will not be subject to a negative payment adjustment in 2019. This option is intended to allow you to test your software, while getting your practice fully onboard MIPS in 2018. If you’re using Eyefinity EHR or ExamWRITER, this is a slam dunk.

  • Pros: Very low threshold, avoid a 2019 payment penalty
  • Cons: No financial incentive for doing well

Option 2: Partial Participation

If you submit 90 days of 2017 data to Medicare, you may earn a neutral or small positive payment adjustment. Under this option, you would submit quality measure information for part of the year, report how your practice uses technology, and report on your practice improvement activities. Again, if you’re using Eyefinity EHR or ExamWRITER, and if you implement a practice improvement initiative, you’re ready.

  • Pros: Low threshold, similar to current incentive programs, possible financial incentive
  • Cons: Incentive payment would be small

Option 3: Participate for the Full Calendar Year

There are some ECs who are eager to jump right into MIPS. If that’s you, you can start your reporting period on January 1. Under this option, you would submit quality measure information for the full year, report how your practice uses technology, and report on your practice improvement activities. If you’re using Eyefinity EHR or ExamWRITER, you will be able to report MIPS for the entire year.

  • Pros: Similar to current incentive programs, possible higher financial incentive
  • Cons: Higher threshold

Learn more about your options and check out our MIPS Resource Center for the latest information.

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Masoud Nafey, OD

4 Reasons You Might be Excluded from MIPS

With MIPS looming on the horizon in 2017, many optometrists are anxious about meeting the program requirements. The first step in determining how to meet MIPS requirements is to determine whether you even have to.

Who’s Required?

According to the final rule, CMS anticipates that 24,252 or 66% of optometric clinicians will be excluded from MIPS in 2017.

Clinicians who fall under one of the following categories are excluded from the first year of MIPS:

  • Clinicians who see 100 or fewer Medicare Part B patients;
  • Clinicians who bill $30,000 or less in Medicare Part B;
  • Clinicians in their first year of Medicare Part B billing; or
  • Clinicians who are participating in an Advanced APM (alternative payment model, more on this later).

Each of these criteria excludes Medicare Parts A, C, and D from eligibility requirements.

It’s important to note that these exclusions are expected change in subsequent MIPS program years.

Next Up: When Should I begin MIPS?

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Masoud Nafey, OD

It’s ALIVVVEE! Here’s What You Need to Know about MIPS.

This is the first in a series of articles about MIPS. Stay tuned to this blog for additional information about MIPS and Eyefinity product updates.

Since CMS released the final rule on October 14, MIPS has been a popular topic on news sites, blogs, and Facebook posts.

So, what do you need to know about MIPS and how does it affect your practice? Read on to get the scoop.

What’s MIPS?

MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Program System) is a Medicare payment program that is intended to incentivize eligible clinicians (ECs) to focus on the quality of care rather than quantity of care.

In a nutshell, MIPS streamlines and combines meaningful use and PQRS. MIPS does not apply to hospitals; it applies to individual clinicians.

Clinicians will be scored based on the following areas in 2017:

Category Explanation Value
Quality Formerly PQRS and CQMs 60%
Advancing Care Information Formerly meaningful use 25%
Clinical Practice Improvement Expanding hours improving outreach, etc. 15%

The lion’s share, 75%, is accomplished using a certified EHR—completing measures and quality reporting currently associated with meaningful use and PQRS. Data collection begins in 2017.

A fourth category, Cost, will be added in 2018. Cost will be based on episode-specific costs as reported on claims.

What’s at stake?

Payment adjustments start at 4% in 2019 and ramp up quickly to 9% in 2022. Since MIPS is required to be revenue neutral, the program applies a penalty to the bottom performing ECs to pay incentives to the top performing. Given that payment adjustment can be up to 9% in 2022, ECs can expect to see an 18-point spread in Medicare payments. That means serious money to some ECs.

Payment Year 2019 2020 2021 2022 and beyond
Max Adjustment 4% 5% 7% 9%

MIPS is designed to make ECs compete in quality performance. Since MIPS takes money from lower performing ECs and pays it to higher performing ECs, there’s a lot of incentive for ECs to bring their A-game.

Keep your eye on this blog for more MIPS information.

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Masoud Nafey, OD

Happy AOA Paraoptometric Recognition Week!

In an effort to recognize the dedication and commitment of Certified Paraoptometric (CPO) professionals in the optometric field, The American Optometric Association (AOA) has designated September 18 to 24 as Paraoptometric Recognition Week. People with CPO letters listed after their name have achieved national recognition via certification, demonstrating their understanding of the concepts and vocabulary used in optometric care.

posterAchieving certification is not an easy task, which is exactly why Eyefinity has challenged our employees to make the grade. Here’s the break down of what the certification tests: basic science (29%), clinical principles and procedures (37%), ophthalmic optics and dispensing (18%), and professional issues (16%).

Why is CPO certification so important to Eyefinity employees?

 

“The more we understand the industry, the more we know about a day in the life of our customers,” says Rebecca Johnson, Director of Education. “We need to understand their business the best we can to ensure we provide the best solution we can.”rebecca-headshot

Rebecca adds, “We want to go beyond providing software to help manage a practice, we need to understand ‘the why.'” Why providing the appropriate code for an eye examination is important; why cycloplegic drugs are used to dilate eyes; and why anti-reflective coating makes a difference for the patient. By studying for and receiving certification, we gain an understanding beyond that of just software. We understand the terminology, process, and workflow, which makes us better equipped to develop and support intuitive software solutions for you, our customers.

“We’ve seen a growth in the comfort level of our employees,” says Jeff Lombardi, Director of Customer Care. “They’re proud to have ‘CPO’ attached to their signature lines because they feel a better connection with our community and have a better understanding of the industry topics.”

So to join the celebration of Paraoptometric Recognition week, Eyefinity would like to recognize the following employees who have achieved Paraoptometric certification:

Andrew Lee
Blake Leeper
Briggs Mushrush
Candy Reiser
Carrie Chambers
Chris Rankin
Chris Rickard
CJ “Chris” Johnson
Crystal Marchand
David Silva
Dean Davis
Don Hudson
Donora Wichmann
Doreen Stanley
Ed Schaub
Elaine Thomas
Ethan Eldridge
Gary Sandler
Glorius Tran
Harriette Harrington
Hien Le
Isaac Kinter
Jane Maramba
James Deveraux
Janell Galindez
Jeff Wainscott
Jenny Royer
Jim Saeturn
John Xiong
Josh Sweetow
Juanisha Darby
Kim Ice
Kris Garcia
Kristen Ramer
Kyle Kerrigan
Linda Park
Loren Riley
Lorriane O’Brochta
Marissa Struve
Marsha Vaughn
Matt Speer
Melody Counts
Michael Opsteegh
Mike Smith
Nichelle Ritterhoff
Nick Brown
Nigeria Muhammad
Pang Vang
Paula Thomas
Phillip Rubio
Rachel Meyer
Rajesh Hegde
Rebecca Johnson
Rhonda Regguinti
Rob Allen
Rodolpho Esparza
Sarah Gallegos
Shane Bagley
Sharif Hassan
Sheila Black
Stacey Graves
Steve Aiken
Steve Honesto
Steve Woldford
Sue Fishel
Terry Dixon
Theresa Pfeiffer
Troy Eberlein
Wayne Kunert

If you are a certified Paraoptometric give a shout out using the comment function below so we can highlight you also!

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Electronic Recalls and Reminders are patient engagement functionality you should expect from your practice management system.

Patients are the heart of any practice. Every day optometrists work to help patients from young children to the elderly detect early signs of chronic health conditions, see clearly, and look stylish. How you keep connected to patients determines your ability to monitor and meet their needs and their willingness to recommend you to their friends and family. This makes patient engagement central to your success and something that your practice management system should support you with.

Here are 5 ways to increase your patient engagement:

1. Recalls

“Practices fill about 70% of their appointments through recalls” says Jeff Wainscott, senior product manager for Eyefinity. Your existing patients are the life blood of your practice.  Text based recalls are quickly becoming the most effective way to prompt patients to schedule their routine eye exam.  Texts are less evasive than a phone call and have a much higher open rate than email.

2. Reminders

Reminding patients of their upcoming appointments are one of the easiest ways to generate a relationship outside of the practice. For the busy individuals out there, getting reminded of an appointment a few days before would be ideal and beneficial. Not only does it make a practice look organized and thoughtful, but also shows the effort a practice puts in to ensure that patients are taken care of for their appointment. Again, texting has emerged as a leading way for a practice to remind patients to show up for their appointment.  Texts are typically opened within 6 minutes of being received and can achieve response rates (confirmations) above 40%.

3. Resources

A bulk of a practice’s remaining appointments are generated through their website, social media and advertising. How does one reach patients not in their recall list? Back in the day the yellow pages seemed to do just well, but ever since technology, the art of flipping through  pages has evolved  into “just Google it.” Online advertisements, pop-up ads, promotions, etc. are plastered all over the internet. Easily accessed by anyone who might be looking for a new optometrist or a simple check-up. Google dominates website searches by generating over 80% of traffic to a website while Facebook pages and Yelp reviews provide patients with content that may ultimately determine whether or not someone walks into a practice. Makes one think twice about starting a new Facebook page huh?

4. Reports (Online Forms)

Options are great! Imagine arriving to the optometrist’s office already having completed and submitted your information online.  No printing, no writing, no paper forms.  You were able to provide the information online when it was convenient for you. Having the option to make things easier or more accessible shows the adaptation of advancement within a practice.

5. Reviews

How would the public know a practice is any good?  “All practices must have a review process” says Jeff Wainscott. Going back to number 2, technology is easily accessed by anyone and everyone. Meaning a new patient may come walking in through the door just because of a good review located on the internet. Reviews are everything, Yelp was basically built around them, and to have them allows a practice to build relationships with patients before walking through the door.

Compelling reasons for why your practice management system should be as invested in patient engagement as you are.

 

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