Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the US healthcare entities have been striving to improve the way patient care is provided by Providers. Evidently, it has brought out various reforms that focus more on the quality of service rendered to patients. In that list of reforms, a few that provide incentives are the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program and the PQRS program. As Providers already have too much on their plates to focus, CMS has offered grace time to confirm Meaningful Use for 2014 reporting year.
What is Meaningful Use?
It is a set of norms that will be used in the EHR systems for the improvement of patient care provided by healthcare Providers. Incorporated by the National Quality Forum (NQF), the ‘Meaningful Use’ concept would help in promoting improved patient care, coordination of care, proper patient engagement and enhanced safety.
The HITECH (Healthcare Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) set a few guidelines in adopting this concept, which came into effect in 2012. Eligible professionals who successfully adopted and used this concept were awarded with good incentives. However, they will be subjected to a penalty on failing to achieve the predetermined standards by 2015.
CMS’s Deadline Extension on ‘Meaningful Use’ and ‘PQRS’:
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set a new deadline for the eligible professionals to confirm Meaningful Use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year. The new deadline would be 11:59 p.m. ET on March 20, 2015.
- Although CMS has officially extended the deadline, it still wants the eligible professionals to start attesting for 2014 at the earliest. When asked for a reason, they stated that the process would be quick and easy if the attestation happens during non-peak hours.
- This deadline extension does not apply for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
- However, it allows eligible professionals to make a switch from Medicare to Medicaid or vice versa. It is advisable that eligible professionals make full use of this time period as they will not be allowed to switch programs after the specified deadline.
- This deadline extension can be applied to the EHR reporting option, the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) as well.
- An important thing to note is that the attestation to Meaningful Use should happen every year. Eligible professionals who successfully do it every year will be awarded with incentives. Else, they will have to face a Medicare payment adjustment that comes in to effect on Jan 1, 2016.
Eligible professionals are advised to use this grace time properly for the financial success of their practices.