Meaningful Use Attestation: Payments and Penalties

Posted by Sharon Chin on Mar 10, 2014 10:30:00 AM

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Many of you have heard about The Meaningful Use Program. And one of the biggest motivations to participate are the incentives your practice could receive. The goal of The Meaningful Use Program is to make healthcare more consistent, transparent, and allow for the measurement of quality of care. To encourage the participation and the adoption of a certified EHR, the CMS is providing incentives to those who successfully attest. The incentive payments are important to many practices and they can help offset the cost of an EHR investment, so today we’ll give you all of the resources you need to understand how to receive those payments after Meaningful Use attestation.

Meaningful Use Attestation: How to Receive Your Incentive Payments

There are two different EHR incentive programs that you can participate in: The Medicare Incentive Program and Medicaid Incentive Program. Here’s a quick summary of the incentive payment difference:

Meaningful_Use_Attestation

It will take 5 to 6 years to complete all three stages for both the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs. But under Medicare, the program has to be completed consecutively.

Most eye doctors will only be eligible for the Medicare Incentive Program. You can participate in the Medicaid program if 30% or more of your patients are Medicaid patients and your practice is in either of these states: AL, IL, KY, OH, LA, MD, MI, NJ, SC, VA. We’ll focus on payments of the Medicare Program in today’s blog.

Now comes the important part – how much you can actually receive! Incentive amounts vary depending on the year you start participating in the program. 

Meaningful_Use_Attestation1

As you can see, to get the maximum incentive payment you must have begun participation in 2011 or 2012. If you do not start by 2014, you will not be eligible to receive any incentive payments. Payment adjustments begin at the start of the 2015 calendar year, January 1.

Payment adjustments are made to your practice’s Medicare reimbursements that start at 1% per year, up to a maximum 5% annual adjustment. And although the penalties begin in 2015, it doesn’t mean you can begin in 2015. You only receive payments after your first 90 day reporting period, so to avoid the adjustments, your reporting period must occur in the first 9 months of 2014 (no later than October 1, 2014). And, you must continue to demonstrate Meaningful Use every year to avoid adjustments in subsequent years.

A really good resource to calculate your payment is the CMS Participation Timeline tool. It will also provide the length of time you are required to demonstrate Meaningful Use at each stage.

As we mentioned, there really isn’t much time left to participate in The Meaningful Use Program, so we strongly encourage you to get started if you haven’t already. Download our eBook and get started with Stage 1.

 

Topics: EHR Software, Meaningful Use

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