EHRs Transform Care Coordination

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services suggest that data shows electronic health HMS Healthcare Management Solutionsrecords (EHR) are helping facilitate better access to health information for both patients and providers. Using that information helps providers securely coordinate with patients, reduce duplicative tests and procedures and enables patients to take more control of their health which results in better overall health outcomes.

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Key Deadlines For Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs

The eHealth initiative is helping health care providers deliver better patient care by simplifying the use of electronic standards and encouraging the adoption of health information technology.  Some key deadlines for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs are the expansion of eReporting, the implementation of quality reporting program alignment and the transition to ICD-10CMS recently posted an overview of important dates coupled with resources and tools to help prepare for 2014.

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Bill Seeks To Create Additional Hardship Exemptions

Federal lawmakers have introduced legislation requiring the federal government to offer more hardship exemptions to physicians to stop Medicare payment cuts for failing to meet electronic health records (EHR) meaningful use standards. The proposed bill would create additional hardship exemptions for single-doctor practices and physicians approaching retirement. Current exemptions are available for physicians and health professionals who:

  • Have insufficient Internet access or who face insurmountable barriers to obtaining infrastructure, such as high-speed or broadband Internet.
  • Begin practicing in 2015.
  • Encounter unforeseen circumstances, such as a natural disaster or other unforeseeable barrier.
  • Lack face-to-face interaction with patients or follow-up opportunities with patients.
  • Practice in multiple locations and do not control access to EHRs during more than 50% of patient encounters.

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CIRTS To Begin Accepting EHRs

In 1994, the Connecticut legislature authorized the Department of Public Health (DPH) to establish the Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System (CIRTS), a statewide, immunization registry established to make vaccine records accessible and ensure children remain up-to-date with their immunizations. Later this year, the registry will launch a pilot site for electronic health record (EHR) reporting so data can be reported and updated electronically.

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Meaningful Use Penalties Coming Soon

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), requires penalties for Medicare eligible professionals (EPs) who are not meaningful users of Certified EHR Technology under the Medicare EHR Incentive Programs beginning in 2015. The reporting period for avoiding this penalty will vary based on when the EP began successfully attesting in the program according to the following guidelines:

  • EPs who first attested to meaningful use in 2011 or 2012 must demonstrate meaningful use by successfully attesting for a full calendar year in 2013 to avoid payment adjustments in 2015;
  • EPs who first attested to meaningful use in 2013 must demonstrate meaningful use by successfully attesting for a 90-day reporting period in 2013 to avoid payment adjustments in 2015;
  • EPs who first attested to meaningful use in 2014 must demonstrate meaningful use by successfully attesting for a 90-day reporting period in 2014 to avoid payment adjustments in 2015. This reporting period must occur in the first 9 months of calendar year 2014, and EPs must attest no later than Oct. 1, 2014, in order to avoid the payment adjustments.

Providers subject to the EHR Incentive Program penalties must continue to demonstrate meaningful use each year to avoid penalties in future years.

Source: MGMA

EHR Incentive Payments Reach $12.7B

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), federal payments to hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals under the three electronic health-record incentive payment programs of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have reached nearly $12.7 billion.

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