Dec. 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed to delay Stage 2 and Stage 3 implementation of electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
Physicians had until Oct. 1, 2014 to complete Stage 2 of meaningful use or face a 1 percent Medicare penalty. The proposed new timeline extends Stage 2 through 2016. Stage 3 was originally scheduled to take effect in 2016; instead, Stage 3 will begin in 2017. Note: Providers must complete at least two years in Stage 2 before they can begin Stage 3.
According to a CMS press release, the new proposed timeline’s benefits would be:
- More analysis of feedback from stakeholders on Stage 2 progress and outcomes;
- More available data on Stage 2 adoption and measure calculations—especially on new patient engagement measures and health information exchange objectives;
- More consideration of potential Stage 3 requirements;
- Additional time to prepare for enhanced Stage 3 requirements; and
- Ample time for developers to create and distribute certified EHR technology before Stage 3 begins and to incorporate lessons learned about usability and customization.
The delays have come as a surprise, especially after Director of ONC Office of Policy Planning Jodi Daniel announced in November, "We are very focused on making Stage 2 work," and CMS “would have the authority to do that [delay Stage 2], but it would require a regulatory change." Regulatory changes can take a year or more, so changes to Stage 2 were thought to be unlikely.
Your Incentives at Stake
Under the incentive programs, providers can receive up to $44,000 in extra payments from Medicare and Medicaid if they show meaningful use of a certified EHR, while eligible professionals who don’t meet the requirements will be penalized beginning in 2015.
For more information, visit the CMS web page Progress on Adoption of Electronic Health Records.
Reporting quality measures for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) has been a reason to protest for many medical specialist societies. The good news is that Medicare listened and come Jan. 1, 2014 will allow them to determine quality measures for their specialty-specific physicians.
According to Modern Healthcare:
The rule represents a major victory for the specialty societies, which had protested a common set of quality measures that many said favored primary care and family physicians over specialists. CMS in 2015 will begin imposing penalties on physicians who fail to report to one of these new "qualified clinical directories,” which will satisfy requirements for participating in the agency’s Physician Quality Reporting System.
The new rule brings more incentives for physicians to participate. Arthur Lerner, M.D., of Technology Education Consulting in Healthcare said, “The rule change empowers societies, medical boards and healthcare organizations to create data registries for their members that would include their own CMS-approved quality measures,” according to Modern Healthcare. He added, “This would more closely address the quality of patient care that their members provide.”
In 2014, 400,000 are estimated to participate in PQRS and beginning in 2015, physicians who do not participate will be penalized 1.5 percent (based on part B charges in 2013).
For more information on the new rule and PQRS, go to the CMS website.
Source: Modern Healthcare
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has release the OIG Strategic Plan, 2014-2018. The plan highlights ways OIG can better achieve its mission to “Protect the integrity of Department of Health and Human Services programs and operations and the health and welfare of the people they serve.”
OIG's goal is to make sure that federal money is used appropriately and that HHS programs better serve the people who use them. According to the OIG Strategic Plan, 2014-2018, the
OIG's four goals over the next four years are:
- Fight Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
- Promote Quality, Safety, and Value
- Secure the Future
- Advance Excellence and Innovation
Look for areas in your healthcare organization where fraud, waste, and abuse area a concern. Target those areas with self auditing, and have a plan ready if you uncover erroneous reporting of physician services.
To see what the OIG has in store over the next four years and incorporate some of, read the OIG Strategic Plan, 2014-2018.
An early October report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) titled “Questionable Billing for Polysomnography Services” indicates sleep studies will receive a more appraising eye from the agency in the future.