mark May 23, 2018

For those who are not associated with the healthcare industry, meaningful use means the use of an EHR (Electronic Health Record) system to optimize the health of the patients and reducing the cost of care at the same time. It is one of the pillars in value-based reimbursement system. Every clinic, practice, and hospital across the nation apply certified EHR technology (CEHRT) as part of their struggle against the volume-based system, improving patient outcomes and lowering healthcare expenses.

You, as a healthcare professional, must demonstrate the proper usage of EHRs to earn incentives. These incentives rely on fulfilling and reporting particular measures. Both Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive programs return bonuses if you, as an individual or a group, can execute and report them to CMS. In 2018, there is a 90-days window of reporting on those measures from January 1st to December 31st. However, with the increase in healthcare industry’s digitalization, the healthcare professionals will be carrying out and reporting them for the whole year.

To begin with, the US government has made it obligatory for the practices and hospitals to install EHR systems. If you fail to show compliance with these regulations, your practice will suffer financially. In case your practice lacks a certified EHR system, there will be substantial payment cuts from your annual Medicare fee. A financial reward for adopting, implementing or upgrading an EHR system is naturally permissible. To simplify the process, the Final Rule for ensuring meaningful use of EHR systems reduced the number of objectives. Fewer objectives mean lesser work to do.

By choosing an ARRA certified EHR technology

ARRA (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and the HITECH Act sanctioned the use of certified EHR systems as a means to cut-down healthcare costs and improve the very fabric of care.

As medical professionals, you must choose an EHR system that is ARRA and ONC (Office of the National Coordinator) approved. The best case scenario is to select a vendor that has been meeting healthcare industry standards for a while. In other words, choose a software development company that has the experience and the reputation to back it up.

If you are not using the recommended system, you may face difficulties completing those measures effectively. You can hire third-party consultant services to report measures on your behalf as long as they are HIPAA qualified.

By reporting measures promptly

We are presently following the Stage 3 requirements of meaningful use laid down in the final rule. Before 2015, it was voluntary to participate in either of the two EHR incentive programs. However, in 2015 and years beyond, it has become mandatory. If you are an EP (Eligible Professional), EH (Eligible Hospital), or a CAH (Critical Access Hospital), get ready to fulfill meaningful use requirements and get incentives.

Selecting measures that are not difficult to implement and relevant to your field seems like a good idea.

By clearly stating the rules of engagement, CMS has made it convenient for eligible practitioners to earn the incentive money. To maximize those incentives, we should strategize and improvise measures to our best interest.

The requirements of MU in 2018 are –

  1. EPs attesting in 2018 will report for 90 consecutive days (3 months).
  2. EPs can either complete stage 2 objectives or stage 3 objectives.
  3. EPs can use a 2014 version, 2015 version, or a combination of both versions of these certified EHR systems.

By outsourcing your medical billing process

There are rare exceptions in which doctors do run a successful in-house billing process. Ordinarily, most healthcare professionals outsource their medical billing process to third-party HIT consultants. Medical billing companies like AdvanceMD, Kareo, P3Care, and CureMD perform reasonably well when it comes to assisting the providers. The claims they submit have a lower denial rate as compared to others. The point here is to unburden yourself and your practice. Don’t overburden your staff with accounting issues. The medical billing process is like dealing with a complicated accounting ledger.

If you want to earn incentives, it is time to hire an affordable medical billing service that is skillful and ensures HIPAA compliance.

By scoring a MIPS Composite Performance Score (CPS) above 70, provided you are a MIPS eligible professional, you must attest and start reporting for Quality, Advancing Care Information (ACI), Improvement Activities (IA), and Cost performance categories. There will be maximum incentives if your MIPS Final score, an aggregate score of the four categories, is higher than 70. For 2018, CMS will deliver the incentives in 2020. However, a score below 15 will cost you in the form of a negative payment adjustment. MIPS adds meaningful use in Advancing Care Information (ACI). Therefore, you must complete ACI measures for a robust CPS (Composite Performance Score).

To succeed, you must pick experienced HIT specialists. They will ensure you score high enough to qualify for the bonus payment.

By adhering to the Medicaid and Medicare Checklists

Submitting to following requirements confirms delivery of incentives:

  • Ensuring your eligibility for the program
  • Registering with the program
  • Exhibiting meaningful use for the given time periods
  • Legal attestation needed for Medicare participants

Monetary Rewards of MIPS and Medicaid meaningful use

In Medicaid (State Administered)

  • Medicaid meaningful use will result in one bonus payment per year
  • There are similar reward percentages every following year
  • The first-year incentive payment is $21,250
  • Over a span of 6 years, EPs can earn up to $63,750

Make the best use of these six years and jump-start your meaningful use campaign right away.

In Medicare (Federally Administered)

The EHR incentive program for Medicare ended in 2016. For 2017 and beyond, the EPs are rewarded under the Quality Payment Program (QPP). You can select any one of the two tracks: MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) or AAPMs (Advanced Alternate Payment Models). For those choosing MIPS, will earn benefits against the MIPS Final Score. For 2018, you can earn up to 5% of your total annual Medicare fee as enticements in 2020. In contrast, you will get 5% of your annual fee, as the bonus, if you are following an AAPM.

Content Source

I am Hannah George. I am positivity engager, tech blogger & coffee addict. I have a degree in Journalism and Modern Greek Studies from San Francisco State University. I write about tech news, trends, new apps and other tangentially related topics with a particular interest in wearables and exercise tech. When I am not writing, Igo out biking on long trails. I live in San Francisco with my pet cat Sushi.


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