The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) And The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Invite The Public To Submit Comments On Recently Released Notice Of Proposed Rule Making
On May 20th, 2014, the Health and Human Services Department and CMS issued a proposed rule that would allow providers participating in the EHR Incentive Programs to use the 2011 Edition or 2014 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for the 2014 reporting year. The proposed rule would also allow for practices that would be reporting Stage 2 in 2014 to have the option to either report Stage 1 or Stage 2 this year.
Here is a graph produced by CMS to help explain the options, and here is the initial press release.
Providers that will be participating for the first time in 2014 under Medicaid should be aware of the fact that they will be required to be on a 2014 certified version. The proposed rule states, “In order to avoid inadvertently incentivizing the purchase of an outdated product that cannot be used to demonstrate meaningful use in a subsequent year…a provider would not be able to qualify for a Medicaid incentive payment for 2014 for adopting, implementing, or upgrading to 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT” (CMS Proposed Rule, 2014)
You Can Comment About This Proposed Rule
CMS.gov has published information that summarizes the proposed rule, and also provides information on how you can submit comments about the rule (click the blue button that says “comment now!” on the right side of the page of the link provided). All comments are welcome but need to be submitted by July 21, 2014.
We are encouraging all providers that will be attesting for Medicare for the first time this year to be up and running on the 2014 certified version of the software prior to July 1st. In order to avoid the 1% payment reduction in 2015 providers must attest by October 1, 2014, or apply for a hardship exemption by July 1, 2014.
If passed, this proposal would give providers a lot more flexibility. Keep in mind that for providers that have attested in prior years, they will have to attest for one quarter in 2014. (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, or Oct-Dec) If your practice has continued to meet Stage 1 requirements and this proposal passes it may be possible for your practice to attest for one of the first two quarters using Stage 1 objectives and measures. If this is a possibility for your practice then you would want to ensure that you have completed your security risk analysis before the end of June. Also ensure that you have completed all other applicable measures that you attest yes or no to such as running a patient list by diagnosis, or having an immunization interface in place. These objectives would have to be done during the selected reporting period. According the proposed rule, “Providers who choose this option must attest that they are unable to fully implement 2014 Edition CEHRT because of issues related to 2014 Edition CEHRT availability delays when they attest to the meaningful use objectives and measures… A provider’s ability to fully implement all of the functionality of 2014 Edition CEHRT may be limited by the availability and timing of product installation, deployment of new processes and workflows, and employee training.” (CMS Proposed Rule, 2014)
Due to SureScript requirements Medisoft Clinical and LytecMD users that ePrescribe must be upgraded to the 2014 certified version prior to October 1, 2014 in order to continue ePrescribing. This means that users that plan to continue e-Prescribing and that haven’t upgrade already will be forced to upgrade during the third quarter (Jul-Sep). This will likely mean that users will be looking at reporting on 2014 measures. The proposed rule would still allow some flexibility for users that would be in Stage 2 this year, allowing them to either report on Stage 1 or Stage 2 measures this year. Since 2014 was an exception to the reporting period rule, providers would still need to be prepared for Stage 2 PRIOR to January 1, 2015 as they will need to report for the entire calendar year for 2015.
Does Your Practice Need A Meaningful Use Assessment?
We recognize that the EHR Incentive program can be complicated and that there are lots of variables and things to consider. Unfortunately, there is no room for error as one little oversight can cause a provider to fail to meet meaningful use, which can result in loss of incentive funds as well as Medicare penalties in following years. For this reason we are encouraging all providers regardless of which stage they are in this year to complete a meaningful use assessment with an AZCOMP trainer. Our Trainers can properly assess where you are now and what it will take to ensure you are properly prepared to navigate the sometimes difficult waters of meaningful use!
Disclaimer: AZCOMP Technologies, Inc, (AZCOMP) is providing this material as an informational reference for eligible professionals. Although every reasonable effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information within these pages at the time of posting, the Medicare/Medicaid programs are constantly changing, and it is the sole responsibility of each provider to remain abreast of program requirements by consulting the authorities and documentation found directly at cms.gov.