The government is constantly making changes to important deadlines and programs regarding healthcare, Meaningful Use, and ICD-10. It can be hard to keep track of. We want to help you understand and remember all of the important information and dates that could effect your practice and your EHR software.
The Scoop on 2 Important Meaningful Use and EHR Software Facts Your Practice Needs to Know
Fact #1: If you don't start Meaningful Use in 2015, you will be hit with payment adjustments.
Payment adjustments begin at the start of 2015, and in order to avoid them at your practice you will need to complete Stage 1 of Meaningful Use attestation this year! So it's time to get started, because 2015 will be here before you know it! If you beging with Meaningful Use this year you're still able to receive $24,000 when you complete all of the stages of the program. If you don't participate, then starting in 2015 your practice will be penalized through lower reimbursements for care provided to Medicare patients. Your practice will be subjected to payment adjustments to your Medicare reimbursements that start at 1% per year, up to a maximum 5% annual adjustment. And, you have to attest for Stage 1 by October 1, 2014 in order to get your full 90 days in this year.
Once you get in your 90 day reporting period for Stage 1 completed this year, you must continue to demonstrate Meaningful Use every year to avoid adjustments in subsequent years. But we recommend getting started as soon as possible, because attestation may not be successful the first time, and you might need extra time to resubmit your attestation.
Fact #2: The Stage 3 delay to 2017 will not affect payment adjustments starting in 2015.
While the new timeline for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use will bring about a few changes, a delay in payment adjustments is not one of them. You will still be held accountable in 2015 if you aren't participating in the program. Stage 3 has been delayed to being in 2017, instead of 2016. The delay will only affect early adopters of the program who started in 2011 or 2012. Early adopters will stay in Stage 2 for another year in 2016.
However, payment adjustments will still begin on January 1, 2015. There are a few exceptions to payment adjustments in 2015 for eligible professionals experiencing what the regulating bodies refer to as hardships. Here are a few of the circumstances that allow you apply for hardship exemptions:
- Newly practicing eligible professionals who would not have had time to participate in the Meaningful Use Program. If you begin practicing in 2015 you may receive an exception to the payment adjustments in 2015 and 2016, but would have to begin demonstrating Meaningful Use in 2016 to avoid payment adjustments in 2017.
- 2014 EHR vendor issues. If you started the program before 2014 and would like to continue using the system for Stage 2, you may apply for the exemption if your EHR vendor was unable to obtain 2014 certification.
- Infrastructure issues. You must be able to show that you are in an area without sufficient Internet access.
- Unpredicatble circumstances, such as natural disasters. These will be evaluated by the CMS on a case-by-case basis.
If you haven't yet, check out our eBook of facts that your practice should know when it comes to Meaningful Use. Check them out!