The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. A piece of this legislature includes the HITECH (HIT for Economic and Clinical Health) Act which focuses on the use of health information technology, improving healthcare outcomes and to improve healthcare system performance. Contained within the HITECH Act is over $36 billion in stimulus incentives for Medicare and Medicaid Providers (known as the Meaningful Use Stimulus).
$40 billion in health information technology funding
Recovery funding has been designated to modernize the health care system by promoting and expanding the adoption of health information technology by 2015. The federal government has said that achieving this goal will reduce its health costs by more than $12 billion over the next 10 years. The federal goals for Health Information Technology (HIT) are to allow comprehensive management of medical information and its secure exchange between health care consumers and providers in order to:
- Improve health care quality
- Prevent medical errors
- Reduce health care costs
- Increase administrative efficiencies
- Decrease paperwork
- Expand access to affordable care
- Financial incentives to hospitals and certain healthcare providers who see Medicare or Medicaid patients and "meaningful use" electronic health record systems
Financial incentives to hospitals and certain healthcare providers who see Medicare or Medicaid patients and “meaningfully use” electronic health record systems Financial incentives to hospitals and certain healthcare providers who see Medicare or Medicaid patients and “meaningfully use” electronic health rec
Meaningful Use Stimulus funds are available for early adopting eligible hospitals and providers
Eligible healthcare providers will be able to receive up to $27.3 billion in incentives:
- Hospitals stand to receive $3 million to $6 million each.
- Healthcare professionals will be eligible for up to $44,000 each under Medicare and $64,000 each under Medicaid.
To receive compensation, an eligible healthcare professional or hospital must demonstrate “meaningful use” of a certified EHR by meeting all criteria, including the electronic exchange of health information with other healthcare providers.
- Those who are not meaningful users by 2015 will face financial penalties in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
What is “meaningful use?”
The criteria for meaningful use begins in 2011 (Stage1) with focus on electronically capturing health information in a coded format, using that information to track key clinical conditions and communicating that information for care coordination purposes. The criteria for meaningful use does become more specific beginning in 2013 to require more specific use of the EMRs and communication with other providers on EMRs. The ARRA has approved for $19 billion in stimulus funds to be provided to “meaningful users” of EMRs in the form of incentives.
The guidelines for meeting meaningful use criteria for EHRs are outlined by the US government and include the following measures:
- Improve care coordination
- Reduce healthcare disparities
- Engage patients and their families
- Improve population and public health
- Ensure adequate privacy and security
According To IDC Health Insights, the U.S. market for inpatient and outpatient ambulatory electronic health record software is predicted to reach $3.8 million by in 2015.
Register Now for Meaningful Use
- Register via the EHR Incentive program website
- Eligible professionals can use the same User ID and Password they use for the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES). This is also the same User ID and Password that is used to access PECOS.
- If you do not have an active User ID and Password for NPPES or PECOS, request them via Identity & Access Management.
- Must have the following information at Registration:
- Type 2 National Provider Identifier (NPI).
- National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) User ID and Password.
- Payee Tax Identification Number (if you are reassigning your benefits).
- Payee National Provider Identifier (NPI)(if you are reassigning your benefits).
- Your address from IRS Form CP-575. You will also need to mail a copy of IRS Form CP-575 as directed
*You do not need to be certified in PECOS or have a certified EMR to register, but both are required for attestation.
*Eligible professionals eligible for both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs must choose which incentive program they wish to participate in when they register.
Need help with Meaningful Use?
Contact Claire Wiseman 817-810-5249 cwisemansandlotsolutions [dot] com
Terry Richardson 817-529-9264 trichardsonsandlotsolutions [dot] com
SandlotConnect: enabling healthcare organizations and physicians to achieve meaningful use of EHRs
Long before “meaningful use” became part of the health IT lexicon, physicians using SandlotConnect were already realizing all HHS’ EHR Meaningful Use goals in their practices.
SandlotConnect enables physicians and hospitals to meet the meaningful use criteria and qualify for the ARRA incentives by supporting key functions of certified EHR technology:
- Access clinical information across healthcare organizations, and exchange health information with their partners in patients’ care
- Transmit prescriptions, order tests, and document patient progress
- Engage patients by sending reminders for preventive and follow-up care
- Submit immunization and other important health information to the appropriate public health agencies
As a result, physicians using SandlotConnect today are improving the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare, effectively coordinating care, managing population health, and engaging patients – all the while ensuring privacy and security. The HHS EHR meaningful use criteria simply affirm the benefits of SandlotConnect’s innovative approach to managing patients’ healthcare.
e-Prescribing Rules Under CMS Guidelines
Under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidelines (CMS), the e-prescribing program could provide incentives for physicians to adopt an EHR system to qualify for potential reimbursement payments and avoid future penalties by 2012.
Incentives for E-Prescribing
Physicians could be rewarded with reimbursement payments based on their total Medicare B allowable charges for the year. A 1% bonus will be awarded to those professionals in 2011 and 2012. This will be followed by a one-half percent incentive payment in 2013. A “successful e-prescriber" will you use their e-prescribing tool to report on at least 25 unique visits per year and have at least 10% of their annual Part B charges meet the criteria of an ambulatory visit.
A “successful e-prescriber” uses an e-prescribing program on their computer to prescribe medications electronically. The certified e-prescribing program must meet in the following requirements:
- The system must generate a complete active medication list incorporating electronic data received form applicable pharmacy drug plans if available.
- Selecting medications, printing prescriptions, and conducting safety checks.
- Providing information about lower cost and therapeutically appropriate medications (if any).
- The program will also offer information concerning formulary or tiered formulary medications, patient eligibility, and authorization requirements received electronically from other patient’s health plans.
For more information on other requirements, please click here.
Physicians have several options for choosing an e-prescribing system to fulfill their reporting obligations. One of their options includes an EHR system with an e-prescribing capability with it. Sandlot, LLC currently offers component within its system. Other alternatives are provided here.
If eligible professionals fail to adopt the successful implementation of these e-prescribing requirements, they will soon incur penalties. Physicians could see their Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) drop by 1% in 2012. The penalties increase to 1.5% in 2013 and 2% by 2014.