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EHR Software: Getting Up to Speed with Stage 1

Posted by Janelle Pauli on Apr 26, 2014 10:30:00 AM
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Whether or not your know what it is, by now you've probably at least heard about Meaningful Use. And maybe you've heard some negative talk about it being too much work, or not worth it. But, if you don't really know what it entails, don't write it off so quickly as being too much work. Meaningful Use comes with a lot of benefits too!

So we want to run through the basics of EHR software and Stage 1 of Meaningful Use. This way, you'll understand exactly what is expected of you and your staff if you particpate in the Meaningful Use Incentive Program, and what benefits you can expect to see. Meaningful Use doesn't just benefit you as an OD, but it benefits your patients too. The happier your patients are, the happier you'll be!

Getting You Started with EHR Software and Stage 1 of Meaningful Use

Why Meaningful Use?

Deciding to participating in Meaningful Use is something that your entire pratice needs to be on board with. It will affect every aspect of your practice, and is going to require change management in your office. You and your staff will be using a certified EHR system to improve the productivity, quality, efficiency, and safety of your entire practice. Adopting a certified EHR will reduce your risk of medical errors, improve communication between your patients and your staff, cut down on time-consuming administrative tasks, and increase your overall practice revenue in the long run. When all is said and done, if you're meaningfully using and EHR in your practice, you're guaranteed to be providing better patient care.

What are the Incentive Programs?

There are two different EHR incentive programs that you could participate in: The Medicare Incentive Program and Medicaid Incentive Program. The Medicare incentive program provides a max incentive of $44,000 and the Medicaid Incentive program provides a max incentive of $63,750. Most eye doctors will only be eligible for the Medicare Incentive Program, but if you are eligible for both, you must choose the plan you would like to participate in when you register. Switching from Medicare to Medicaid and vice versa is allowed only once after the first incentive payment is initiated. The amount of your incentive payment for both Medicare and Medicaid depends on when you begin participating. Here’s a table to help you understand the difference. 

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What are the consequences if I don’t participate?

If you are eligible and choose not to participate by 2015, your practice will be penalized through lower reimbursements for care provided to Medicare patients. Medicare eligible professionals who participate in the program but do not meet the requirements for meaningful use by 2015(or in each subsequent year) are subject to payment adjustments to their Medicare reimbursements that start at 1% per year, up to a maximum 5% annual adjustment.

 …So what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor and get started to save yourself from losing money. If you haven’t already started, the first step to jump into Meaningful Use is to register for the program and follow Stage 1 set of requirements. Remember, Stage 1 includes: 15 Core Objectives, 5 Menu Objectives, 6 Clinical Quality Measures (CQM). 

Great, I've completed Stage 1 reporting, what now?

Attestation is next! Note that you will have to meet requirements for 90 days in year 1 and a full year in year 2. During the attestation process, you will answer yes/no questions and report the percentages met on the core objectives, menu objectives, and clinical quality measures. Remember, in order to move to Stage 2 you must pass attestation! 

If you need some help planning, we’ve creating a participation timeline that will help you see when you need to get started on each stage of Meaningful Use. Use this timeline to determine which year you will demonstrate Stage 1, 2, and 3 of Meaningful Use.

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Do you need a full resource kit to help you get started? If you haven't had the opportunity yet, check out our Meaningful Use Stage 1 eBook! 

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Topics: Industry Pulse, EHR Software

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