Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Program is in play. Find out how regulations are shifting, where your practice fits into the program, and where the health care landscape is headed.
Although it bore its inception back in 2011, meaningful use is still generally regarded as an enigma in today’s health care arena. And although approximately 88% of all eligible hospitals and 60% of all Medicare eligible providers are already on board, chiropractors have taken a relatively hesitant back seat to the forging of this new era of technology and regulatory management. But as this tsunami of change that has heretofore churned tumultuously along continues to wash over the health care landscape, it’s time we can all agree—the EHR Incentive program isn’t going anywhere. And if you think you can still pick up the last dredges of stimulus money by getting started in 2015, think again. This is also the last year that providers have the opportunity to opt-in to the program.
So what does this mean for current and new meaningful users? Well, it means that regardless of whether this is your first year or your fourth, 2014 brings along an onslaught of new changes. First and foremost, it’s important to note that the basic incentive payouts are not changing. But in order to receive them, eligible providers in Stage 2 are now required to report on 17 Core measures and 3 of 5 Menu measures (vs. 15 core and 5 menu in Stage 1). Some of the threshold percentages and allowable exclusions will change, and increased interoperability and exchanges in information will be required between providers of different certified EHRs, and from providers to patients. Public Health entity reporting is expanding as well to include specialty and cancer registries.
For those who have gotten used to taking the path of least resistance in Stage 1, it’s important to note that an allowance that was a great advantage to chiropractors in previous years is also vanishing. Beginning in 2014, EPs are no longer permitted to count an exclusion toward the minimum of 5 menu objectives if there are other menu objectives they can meet. This means that choosing menu objectives that are easy to opt out of such as e-prescribing and syndromic surveillance and can no longer be selected in lieu of other attainable menu measures.
There have been many other changes to the existing requirements, plus the addition of new requirements in Stage 2 that include:
- Increased patient engagement: providing patients online access to health information
- Secure messaging between patient and provider
- Electronic exchange of summary of care documents between vendors
- Additional clinical quality measures reporting
Although all of these new requirements may sound daunting, there is some good news:
For the 2014 year only, all providers regardless of their stage within the program are only required to demonstrate meaningful use for a 3 month reporting period.
If you’re not sure when you are required to begin Stage 2, here’s a quick review:
- If your 1st year was 2011: Stage 2 begins in 2014
- If your 1st year was 2012: Stage 2 begins in 2014
- If your 1st year was 2013: Stage 2 begins in 2015
- If your 1st year is 2014: Stage 2 begins in 2016
Believe it or not, meaningful use is about more than just seemingly throwing a thousand wrenches into your daily practice processes. Although it requires adjustments and some liberally applied fortitude, the EHR Incentive program is bringing us leaps and bounds forward in improving patient care and evaluating the effectiveness of that care.
To put our providers in position to take full advantage of the EHR Incentive program, ChiroTouch offers a robust support and training program for our meaningful users. Contact ChiroTouch to learn more about how we can keep your practice running with a comprehensive approach to the EHR Incentive Program, billing, compliance, and industry standards.