Education is a Lifelong Journey

Dr_Maria_Davenport

Earlier this year, we sat down with Maria Davenport, OD, an OfficeMate and Eyefinity EHR user who runs a single-doctor practice in Vicksburg, MI to talk about the value of education. Because Dr. Davenport is always looking for ways to work smarter and not harder, she has attended four Education and Training events in the last three years to learn how to use her Eyefinity products to their fullest potential.

“Success for my practice is to stay lean by doing things more efficiently,” Dr. Davenport explained. “[Eyefinity EHR] makes it so I can focus on doing more, like attesting for Meaningful Use, MIPS, and MACRA. This is the first year I attested for Meaningful Use. It went well and I passed. The icon in the system made it easy to track my numbers daily to see how I was performing against the goal.”

Eyefinity EHR is designed to help ODs easily succeed with Meaningful Use, and that makes it an even bigger priority at our Eyefinity Education Conferences. Vice President of Professional Relations, Masoud Nafey, OD hosts breakout sessions on MACRA and MIPS at Education Conferences in addition to helpful webinars throughout the year. A portion of the Eyefinity website is also dedicated entirely to MIPS, hosting a variety of resources to help doctors succeed.

These are just a few ways you can educate yourself with Eyefinity.  Everyone learns differently, and there are more educational resources available to customers, such as on-site training, online tutorials, and in-product messaging. If you use social media, there are private Facebook groups for each Eyefinity product containing helpful tips and peer-to-peer advice. And, of course, Eyefinity Training Support is available to assist you in your learning journey every step of way.

If you want a chance to connect with industry leaders and learn from professionals like yourself, consider attending the next Education Conference in Boston, MA, June 9-10. In the meantime, catch up on the MIPS webinars available in the MIPS Resource Center.

Upcoming Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Deadline

Summer’s here, and the July 4 holiday weekend is around the corner. Before packing your bags or lighting up the grill, take a moment to review the meaningful use hardship exception guidelines. The deadline to apply for a hardship exception and avoid a 2017 payment adjustment is July 1 at 11:59 pm ET.

You do not need to file a hardship exception if any one of these scenarios applies to you:

  • You successfully demonstrated meaningful use in 2015;
  • You’re a hospital-based provider; or
  • You’re a new eligible professional who began filing Medicare or Medicaid claims in 2015.

A hardship exception could exempt you from Medicare payment penalties in 2017 if you failed to achieve meaningful use in 2015 and you met one of the following circumstances:

  • Insufficient internet connectivity
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (a natural disaster, practice closure, bankruptcy, failure of your certified EHR)
  • Lack of certified EHR availability
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction or follow up

There’s no hardship exemption for not knowing about the Modified Stage 2 meaningful use changes that were published in October.

The timeline for hardship exceptions and payment adjustments can be confusing since the payment adjustments occur two years after the participation year.

If you failed to participate in this calendar year… File for a hardship exception by this date… To avoid a payment adjustment in this year…
2015 July 1, 2016 2017
2016 TBD 2017 2018

For more information, refer to the following resources:

Meaningful Use Registry Deadline: February 29

blog_stopwatchAn important meaningful use deadline is approaching. February 29 is the last day to register with a specialized registry and fulfill the public health objective for meaningful use in 2016. Eyefinity recommends the following registries:

You must register with a specialized registry by February 29 to demonstrate “active engagement” with a specialized registry in 2016. Your registration fulfills your specialized registry obligation for the year. Depending upon the scope of your practice, you may be required to register with a second registry.

Eyefinity is actively working with AOA to develop an integration between AOA MORE and ExamWRITER and Eyefinity EHR. Through this integration, you’ll be able to meet the public health objective, submit your clinical quality data, and electronically report your PQRS data. This integration will be available later this year. Continue reading

CMS Extends the Deadline for Reporting 2015 Meaningful Use

Last week, CMS pushed the deadline for attesting to meaningful use (MU) from February 29 to Friday, March 11. This extension applies only to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for the 2015 reporting period. Eligible providers who are participating in their state’s Medicaid EHR incentive program should check with their state to determine their attestation deadline.

This 12-day extension will come as welcome relief to many providers who haven’t yet attested to their 2015 meaningful use performance. A successful MU attestation is required to avoid a 3% negative Medicare payment adjustment in 2017.

MU Attestation Resources

To help you complete your MU attestation by March 11, we’ve compiled these helpful resources:

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)

This MU extension does not affect the February 26 deadline for Medicare Part B claims-based PQRS reporting.

Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Requirements Announced

CMS has released the requirements for filing hardship exception applications for the 2015 reporting year. The good news is that CMS has reduced the amount of detailed information needed to complete the application. Additionally, CMS is allowing groups of providers to file a single hardship exception application. Hardship exception applications are due by March 15.

A hardship exception could exempt you from Medicare payment penalties in 2017 if you failed to achieve meaningful use in 2015 and you met one of the following circumstances:

  • Insufficient internet connectivity
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (a natural disaster, practice closure, bankruptcy, failure of your certified EHR)
  • Lack of certified EHR availability
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction or follow up

There’s no hardship exemption for not knowing about the Modified Stage 2 meaningful use changes that were published in October.

While this isn’t the blanket hardship exception that many had hoped, the application requires less information than in years past, which will make the application less burdensome. Additionally, the Modified Stage 2 requirements lowered the bar on many of the more onerous measures, which should make it easier for eligible providers (EPs) to attest to meaningful use rather than applying for a hardship exception.

If you’re able to successfully attest to meaningful use for 2015, you do not need to file a hardship exception. New EPs who began submitting Medicare claims in 2015, hospital-based EPs, and EPs in five specialties unrelated to eyecare automatically receive an exemption and don’t have to file an application.

For more information, refer to the following resources:

Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Robert BassAn EHR patient portal offers patients a secure way to view records, schedule appointments, and interact with your office. Along with elevating patient care, EHR patient portals enables you meet meaningful use requirements.

Check out how Robert Bass, OD, increased patient portal usage with his patients. Read the entire article: Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Copied with permission from Review of Optometric Business.

Important Meaningful Use Deadline Quickly (and Quietly) Approaching

To Do: Meaningful UseYou must register with public health registries before December 1 to fulfill the public health objective of meaningful use in 2015. The objective requires that you be registered to submit data to public health agencies within 60 days of starting your attestation period, which for most providers, was October 1, 2015.1

The public health objective is divided into three measures, from which you must choose two:

  • Measure 1: Immunization Registry Reporting
  • Measure 2: Syndromic Surveillance Reporting
  • Measure 3: Specialized Registry Reporting

There are eligible exclusions, but you must exhaust all available options before you can satisfy this objective by exclusion. First, let’s determine whether you’re eligible for an exclusion for any of the three measures.

Are You Eligible to Claim an Exclusion?

Answer the following questions to determine your eligibility to claim an exclusion from one or more of these measures.

Continue reading

2015 Meaningful Use Flexibility Rule Brings Much-Needed Relief

Yes, October is pretty late to be formalizing changes to meaningful use (MU) for the current year, but these changes provide some welcome relief to eligible providers (EPs) who are still finding their stride when it comes to MU. Here are the highlights of the adopted changes:

  • 90-day reporting period for all EPs in 2015. All EPs, regardless of previous MU participation may attest to a reduced period of 90 consecutive days for 2015. Although you can attest to any 90-period in CY 2015, the attestation system will be available only between January 4 and February 29, 2016. If you’ve been keeping up with your meaningful use throughout 2015, you can choose any 90-day reporting period. If you relaxed your meaningful use in 2015, your reporting period will likely be October 1–December 31.
  • 90-day reporting period for new participants in 2016. Any EP beginning participation in 2016 may report a reduced period of 90 consecutive days for 2016. All EPs continuing or resuming participation will be required to report a full year for 2016.
  • Streamlined measure and objective reporting. This streamlined reporting eliminates the need to report several redundant objectives and measures that have been widely adopted in the industry (and thus assumed you are fulfilling). While you might view this streamlined reporting as removing the low-hanging fruit, it removes a lot of the clutter that complicates reporting.
  • Aligning Stage 1 and Stage 2. CMS is overhauling the structure of the objectives by eliminating the Menu Set in favor of a streamlined Core Set. All providers, regardless of stage will attest to the same core set. For those EPs who were scheduled to attest to Stage 1, additional exclusions and alternative measures are available.

Highlights of the Changes

Most EPs will breathe a sigh of relief over these two modifications:

  • The Patient Electronic Access threshold is reduced from 5% of the patient population to at least one patient. This is a huge relief to those EPs who serve patient populations who are uncomfortable accessing their records online.
  • The Use Secure Messaging is changing from a percentage-based objective to a yes-no objective. This means that you can report that you have the functionality fully enabled even if none of your patients sent you a message.

In addition, the following measures have been removed because they were redundant or the industry has already widely adopted them as best practice:

  • Record Demographics
  • Record Vital Signs
  • Record Smoking Status
  • Clinical Summaries
  • Clinical Lab Test Results
  • Patient Lists
  • Preventive Care (Patient Reminders)
  • Summary of Care (measures 1 and 3)
  • Electronic Notes
  • Imaging Results
  • Family Health History

These are just the highlights of the meaningful use changes that go into effect for the 2015–17 reporting years. We’ll post the details and updated documentation within the next few days on eyefinity.com.

Upcoming Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Deadline

Summer’s here, and the July 4 holiday weekend is around the corner. Before packing your bags or lighting up the grill, take a moment to review the meaningful use hardship exception guidelines. The deadline to apply for a hardship exception and avoid a 2016 payment adjustment is July 1 at 11:59 pm ET.

You do not need to file a hardship exception if any one of these scenarios applies to you:

  • You successfully demonstrated meaningful use in 2014;
  • You’re a hospital-based provider; or
  • You’re a new eligible professional who didn’t file Medicare or Medicaid claims in 2014.

You can only file for a hardship and avoid the payment adjustment if you weren’t able to achieve and report meaningful use due to circumstances outside of your control. For example, if you used a vendor prior to coming to Eyefinity who was not able to get their EHR software certified in time, you might qualify for a hardship.

The timeline for hardship exceptions and payment adjustments can be confusing since the payment adjustments occur two years after the participation year.

If you failed to participate in this calendar year… File for a hardship exception by this date… To avoid a payment adjustment in this year…
2014 July 1, 2015 2016
2015 July 1, 2016 2017
2016 June 30, 2017 2018

To help you determine if a hardship exception is right for you, use the Hardship Exception Tool. For more information about filing a hardship exception, refer to CMS’ Payment Adjustments and Hardship Exceptions page.

CMS Extends Medicare EHR Attestation Deadline

announcementIn a surprise announcement this morning, CMS extended the 2014 attestation deadline for the EHR Incentive Program, popularly known as “meaningful use.” The submission deadline is now March 20, 2015, at 11:59pm (ET).

This extension gives providers a chance to breathe and a little more time to gather their meaningful use data from 2014 and attest. This is fantastic news for all participating providers who want to avoid Medicare payment adjustments in 2016. This is particularly good news to those who are attesting to meaningful use for the first time, since this is their last chance to receive any incentive money for meaningful use under Medicare.

CMS was careful to point out that this extension applies only to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. This extension does not affect those providers who are participating under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. CMS also urged providers to attest as soon as possible despite the extension.