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With the new governmental mandates a clinic, hospital or qualifying medical professional accepting Medicare, Medicaid, or both, are expected to fall in line with the Electronic Health Records initiative very soon. As the initiative moves forward, changes are being made that could affect whether or not they qualify for any Electronic Health Records incentives. If you are considering converting to this system, and moving forward with it, rather than remaining stagnant or even fighting against it, there is information you should be aware of.
Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program: to be considered an eligible professional under this program, you must be a doctor of: medicine or osteopathy, optometry, dental surgery or medicine, or podiatry. In addition, chiropractors may also be considered as eligible.
Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program: to be considered an eligible professional under this program, you must be a: physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife or an eligible physician assistant.
Once you have determined that you meet the eligibility standards, you must also meet at least one of the following criteria: a minimum Medicaid patient volume of 30 percent, a pediatrician with a Medicaid patient volume of 20 percent or practice in a Federally Qualified Health Center, or Rural Health Center, and have a client base of at least 30 percent of needy or impoverished individuals.
Should you meet all eligibility standards, you must meet the meaningful use criteria as set forth by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Stage 1 of the criteria states the following:-
- Certified Electronic Health Records must be used in a meaningful manner, as in the use of e-prescribing functionality.
- Certified Electronic Health Records must be used to exchange health information in a manner that improves the quality of care.
- Certified Electronic Health Records must be used to submit quality, and other measures, when required.
Meaningful use requirements will be added to, or amended, in stages. Stage 2 of the program will be implemented some time in 2013, while Stage 3 will be implemented in the year 2015. Those professionals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program must meet meaningful use guidelines each year the system is in use.
Medicare Program Overview
Eligible professionals were able to begin participation in the program last year but must, to earn the maximum incentives, be participating by this year. Those professionals who choose to participate in the program can expect incentives of up to $44,000 spread out over five years. If you, as a healthcare professional, choose to provide services in a Health Professional Shortage Area, there are additional incentives available.
Medicaid Program Overview
This voluntary program began enrolling members last year and will continue accepting new members through the 2016. Eligible professionals will receive up to $63,750 spread out over six years. There are no additional incentives being offered at this time.
If you are a medical professional and are considering taking part in the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, you can find more information with regards to your eligibility, meaningful use and the application process at CMS.gov [http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/01_Overview.asp#TopOfPage]. The website provides information covering all facets of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program and should be read by any medical professional thinking about enrolling in the program.
The Electronic Health Record Incentive Program is moving forward; will you be moving with it?
Connie Prescott is a conservation writer who works with NRDC and other organizations to protect our health and environment. Currently she is helping spread awareness of several suggested changes to the CMS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking among health care providers to help them know more about the current Meaningful Use Requirements in an attempt to improve the overall healthcare system.