December 03, 2014
The CMS has extended Meaningful Use attestation deadline for eligible hospitals (EHs) and Critical Assess Hospitals (CAHs). The reporting period has been extended from November 30, to December 31, 2014. This will give them more time to submit MU attestation data, receive incentive payments and avoid 2016 Medicare payment adjustments.
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The deadline has also been extended for EHs and CAHs who will submit clinical quality measures electronically for meeting the requirements. However, this extension will not be applicable to the Medicaid MU program.
According to the CMS, providers have been paid more than $24.8 billion as incentive payments under the Meaningful Use program
As of July 2014 merely 3,152 eligible professionals and 143 eligible hospitals attested to Stage 2 and only 795 eligible professionals and six eligible hospitals received payments for attestation
According to Fierce EMR, only 804 eligible hospitals had attested to MU Stage 2 as of November 01. This was out of the 2,300 plus hospitals that performed attestation to Stage 1. Even though the CMS announced this extension to help hospitals avoid payment adjustments, experts believe that it will increase administrative burden on providers.
Physicians will have to implement different workflows for different patients. They also need to engage in extensive tracking to ensure that all MU attestation measures are met. It might also lead to inconsistencies in the care provided to patients.
Few tips have been provided by the CMS to help the EHs and CAHs ensure MU attestation.
Hospitals can log on to use the attestation system during non-peak hours, such as weekends and evenings
They can log on to the attestation and registration system, ensure that their information is updated and start entering their 2014 data
In case of attestation problems, they can call up the EHR Incentive Program Help Desk and report the issues
Eligible professionals who haven’t demonstrated MU of EHR will be facing 1% penalty or payment adjustment in their Medicare reimbursements in 2015. Penalties too will keep increasing by 1% every year until 2019.
Providers Struggling with MU Requirements
This extension will not be appeasing to certain industry associations that had requested a shortened 90 day reporting period rather than the current 365 day reporting period for 2015. According to the industry reports, providers across the US have been facing difficulties in transitioning to Stage 2 of the MU program.
Many hospitals and small practices don’t have the time and money to focus on what should be done for meeting the Stage 2 of MU requirements. They are not able to do the necessary preparations or seek consultation due to payment cuts and lack of skilled staff.
Billing companies such as MedicalBillersandCoders.com has been helping practices across all the 50 states to ensure successful implementation of Meaningful Use requirements. MBC has the largest consortium of skilled and certified coders and billers who help physicians enhance revenue, giving them ample time to prepare for MU requirements.
EMR / EHR / Health IT