CMS Gives New Meaningful Use Flexibility
With participation in Stage 2 of the electronic health records program nearly dormant and many providers still having problems with Stage 1, the federal government is making big changes.
CMS Provides Update on EHR Hardship Exceptions
Eligible professionals within the Medicare EHR Incentive Program who did not successfully meet meaningful use in 2013 still have time to submit a hardship exception application for payment year 2015, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Healthcare Tech Jam 2014 is an online/virtual event showcasing some of the most cutting-edge technologies, gadgets and tools in the healthcare and pharmaceutical spaces and offering a program of original content covering the intersection of healthcare and technology. It is also a forum to foster live, interactive dialogue between delegates, speakers, technology companies and sponsors.
Website Blogging: An Affordable and Effective Way to Boost Google Rankings and Patient Traffic
When we mention the word "blog" to most medical practices, we see practice managers and physicians alike begin to cringe. Don't worry, blogging doesn't mean taking an hour out of your day to share life lessons. Instead, we're referring to writing short patient education articles and announcements on practice news and events. Sounds reasonable right? Below is a guide to blogging and why it's so important.
ONC Launches New Clinical Quality Framework Initiative
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has launched a new initiative focused on "harmonizing the standards for clinical decision support and electronic clinical quality measurement," according to a March 20 blog by Doug Fridsma, M.D., ONC Director of the Office of Science and Technology.
HIT Policy Committee Cuts 30% of Initial Stage 3 Recommendations
The Health IT Policy Committee has approved scaled-down recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services on criteria for Stage 3 of the electronic health records meaningful use program. The recommendations, which include 19 objectives for providers to comply with compared with 26 in an earlier version, will inform HHS in developing a proposed rule for Stage 3.
Call for TEP Nominations: Development of Measure of Facility Risk-Standardized Hospital Visit Rate after Outpatient Surgery
CMS has contracted with the Yale New Haven Health Services Corporation - Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) to develop quality measures that use patient outcomes to assess the quality of outpatient care. As part of this project, CORE is developing a quality measure for outpatient surgeries. Specifically, CORE is developing a measure of hospital visits following outpatient surgery conducted in ambulatory surgery centers and potentially in hospital outpatient departments.
CORE is seeking nominations for a technical expert panel (TEP) to provide expert opinion and input on these measures. Given the expertise and mission of your organization and your constituency's expertise relevant to healthcare quality, ambulatory surgery, and/or quality measurement, CORE invites you to identify individuals who might be interested in participating on our TEP.
Clinical Informatics Leaders Named as Prize Finalists
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Pi2 Award, sponsored by SSi-SEARCH, recognizes innovators who have applied informatics solutions within their health systems. Congrats to finalists: Troy McGuire, MD, Seattle Children's Hospital (SCH) ; Emily C. Webber, MD, Riley Hospital for Children; Ming-Chuan Jessie Kuo, RN, MS, Cathay General Hospital; David Douglas, MD, Northwest Innovation Center. More >>
Program tracks announced for ATA 2014
ATA 2014 (May 17-20, Baltimore) will feature 500 presentations including training courses, best practices, late-breaking research outcomes and updates on issues vital to the practice and industry of telemedicine. The sessions will be organized in 13 tracks: Business Strategies; Patient-Focused Care; Operational Tools; Clinical Case Studies; Chronic Disease Management; Critical and Acute Care; Legal & Regulatory; Mental Health; Pediatrics; Federal Programs; Executive Roundtables and; ePoster Lightning Rounds.
HealthFusion's MediTouch EHR has Achieved NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home Prevalidation
HealthFusion® announced today that MediTouch EHR® (4.0) is Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Prevalidated by NCQA to receive 23.5 points in Autocredit toward NCQA's PCMH 2011 scoring. This Autocredit is transferrable to MediTouch EHR PCMH client practices seeking NCQA's PCMH 2011 Recognition. Most PCMH primary care practices seek recognition from NCQA as the method of proving they comply with the essential principles of Medical Home. This Prevalidation means that just by actively using MediTouch EHR software for the reviewed capabilities associated with MediTouch PCMH Prevalidated modules, a medical practice can be awarded automatic credit. Autocredit reduces the amount of documentation the medical practice needs to gather and present to NCQA in order to achieve recognition as a Medical Home. The PCMH model of healthcare delivery plays a prominent role in the Affordable Healthcare Act and is the foundation of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiative.
The MediTouch integrated EHR suite of products was selected by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) as their exclusive strategic AOA EHR partner. The purpose of our partnership is to promote adoption of electronic health records (EHRs).
Past ONC National Coordinators Talk Clinical Informatics: At iHealth 2014, convened by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) from Jan.30 - Feb. 1, four ONC National Coordinators will speak on one panel about clinical informatics and the future of government investment in health IT. It will be a rare opportunity to hear from about clinical informatics from leading government leaders and insiders. Click here for more information >>
Voluntary EHR Certification Program Targets Ancillary Providers
The HIT Standards Committee, during its Nov. 13 meeting, received an update on work within the HIT Policy Committee to develop voluntary electronic health records certification programs for providers who are ineligible to participate in the meaningful use program.
Check out the latest webinar from CMS eHealth on Stage 2 exchange requirements and the meaningful use objectives that facilitate EHR interoperability.
Also, previous CMS eHealth slides and recordings can be found here >>
Emergency Docs Use EHRs, PMPs to Help Drug-Seekers
Physicians encountering patients seeking oxycodone and other pain medications in the emergency department are using electronic medical records and prescription monitoring programs to identify doctor-shopping patients and to get them help.
Health IT Czar on Making Meaningful Use 'Meaningful'
Outgoing ONC Chief Farzad Mostashari offers advice to clinicians during an interview with Eric Topol
Healthcare reform education –
Share it with your medical practice family
A recent article in the healthcare management online magazine, FierceHealthcare, highlighted the lack of healthcare reform education for hospital staff. The author makes a very good point in stating “With U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year cementing the ACA as law of the land, how can delivery and payment reforms produce results if we don't inform those charged with delivering care under these new systems?” Make sure your practice staff is not lacking in education. The AOA has a treasure chest overflowing with educational resources on varying topics such as ACO's, the Patient Centered Medical Home, and the updated HIPAA requirements. We offer live and on-demand webinars on topics impacting the osteopathic medical practice. Share the wealth of AOA resources with your practice staff. Also have them sign up to receive free, timely and relevant practice management e-mail communications from the AOA by sending contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (800) 621-1773, ext. 8282.
To help you better understand and prepare for the new Health Insurance Marketplace, check out these two new Healthcare Provider focused publications from CMS. The open enrollment period starts October 1, 2013.
- Health Insurance Marketplace: 10 Things Providers Need to Know
- Health Insurance Marketplace: 10 Things to Tell Your Patients
ICD-10 Weekly Question
Each week the Department of Practice Management and Delivery Innovations will provide you with a question that you can post to your website, include in your newsletter or send out with emails as a way to help your members start to think about implementing ICD-10. See below. Question: If I don't see Medicare patients, will I have to transition ICD-10? Answer: Everyone covered by HIPAA must use ICD-10 starting October 1, 2014. This includes health care providers and payers who do opt-out of Medicare. Organizations that are not covered by HIPAA, but use ICD-9-CM codes should be aware that ICD-9-CM codes may become obsolete and should plan to use ICD-10 codes.
Earn up to 23.5 Category 1-A CME Credits by attending OMED 2013 Practice Management Sessions (Registration Required)
The AOA Bureau of Socioeconomic Affairs, the American Osteopathic Association of Medical Informatics (AOAMI), the Council on New Physicians in Practice (CNPP), the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) will offer a series of continuing medical education programs at OMED 2013 for Category 1-A CME credit. The goal of each session is to help your practice focus on the essentials of running your practice. Topics will include billing and coding, surviving meaningful use audits, responding to ACOs, employment arrangements, HIPAA privacy and security, ICD-10 and more. Click here to check out the preliminary program.
Increased Scrutiny for the “incident to” Billing Regulations
The government has started to target the billing practices of nonphysician providers to see whether their billing error rate is higher for "incident to" services than for other services billed. Physicians who hire nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) could become the focus of scrutiny, as the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has vowed to take a closer look at Medicare claims submitted for nonphysician clinician services. Why all this scrutiny? The key culprits are the incident to billing regulations. Medicare authorizes 100% of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for procedures performed incident to a physician's office visit, even if performed by a nonphysician. When a nonphysician sees a patient for any other type of procedure, Medicare pays 85% of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. With the prevalence of nonphysician clinicians, there's been a resulting increase in the use of the "incident to" billing. Click on the AOA webinar to improve your knowledge of billing codes “incident to.”
Something you should know – Medicare Appeals
Don’t take “no” for an answer--fight back! Believe it or not, the majority of Medicare denials are never appealed. Studies show that providers only appeal about 5% of all denials received. Of those that are appealed, 46% are overturned somewhere along the Medicare Appeals process. The President and Founder of The Patriot Group, Tom Force, Esq., provided the following information regarding the five levels of appeal available to those who fight a Medicare denial.
Medicare Overpayment Recovery Process
Have you received a recoupment letter from CMS? Physicians or suppliers who have received payments that exceed Medicare’s regulated payment amounts may receive letters from CMS requesting that the excess be returned. If physicians do not refund payments within 31 days, physicians may receive a second demand letter requesting that the excess be returned with interest. If you do not return payments within 40 calendar days, CMS will initiate recoupment, unless you take action to appeal the letter within the first 30 days of the date of the first letter. Appeals made after 30 days will not stop the recoupment process. As of January 17, 2013 Medicare’s new interest rate on overpayments and underpayments is 10.625 percent. To read more, click here.
First Vendors Get Accredited for Direct Messaging Services
The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission has accredited the first four vendors to meet newly developed best practices for providing secure messaging services using the Direct Project protocols.
MediTouch EHR Software is in the process of a wave certification with the Drummond Group for Meaningful Use Stage-2(2014). The AOA's strategic partner, HealthFusion, is pleased to announce that they have passed the first wave of testing that included the majority of the measures required to be certified as a Meaningful Use Stage-2 2014 Complete EHR. On May 2nd of 2013 less than 20 companies had an ambulatory (office practice) product that has achieved any type of certification for Stage 2 Meaningful Use per the ONC CHPL site.
This wave one certification is evidence of HealthFusion's continuing commitment to the Meaningful Use program. The Stage 2 Meaningful Use program is technically more complex than the first stage. HealthFusion is taking a leadership role with regard to early certification because they believe that EHRs that certify early will have the benefit of a longer lead time to prepare their users for immediate success in Stage 2.
"We would like to thank our technical team for their continuing hard work on Meaningful Use Stage 2 and I am confident we are in the process of creating the industry's best Stage 2 EHR user experience." - Sol Lizerbram, DO
Take a look at this one-stop-link for all things MU stage 2 from HealthIT.gov. It includes new files on attestation, tipsheets, FAQs and links to tools and regs from both CMS and ONC.
The AmericanEHR Partners eNewsletter, Vol. 3 - #9
CMS eRx Program Exemptions Open
In an effort to encourage physicians to adopt e-prescribing in their practices, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created an incentive and penalty program called the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program. If you have not started successfully e-prescribing, your practice may be penalized 2% on Medicare Part B claims. However, you may be able to claim a hardship exemption. Visit the AOA’s webpage on e-prescribing to learn more about the CMS eRx incentive program, the hardship exemptions and other helpful tips. Visit the CMS eRx incentive program website to submit a hardship exemption request between March 1 – June 30, 2013.
New Interactive Resource on Stage 2 and the 2014 CQMs
CMS recently posted a new resource to help eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) prepare for Stage 2 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.
Available on the Educational Resources page of the EHR Incentive Programs website, the interactive Stage 2 Toolkit includes materials on Stage 2 and the 2014 clinical quality measure (CQM) requirements.
The toolkit is divided into three main sections:
- Resources for EPs
- Resources for eligible hospitals and CAHs
Providers who use the toolkit will find the following information:
- An overview of Stage 2
- Stage 2 FAQs
- How the Stage 2 provisions affect Stage 1 requirements
- Comparison tables of Stage 1 and Stage 2 criteria
- Details about payment adjustment and hardship exemptions
- 2014 CQMs, including descriptions, technical release notes, and the recommended core sets for EPs and eligible hospitals
Reminder: The earliest that the criteria for Stage 2 will be effective is the first day of fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013) for eligible hospitals and CAHs, or calendar year 2014 (January 1, 2014) for EPs. All providers must achieve meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before moving to Stage 2.
Want more information about the EHR Incentive Programs?
Make sure to visit the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs website for the latest news and updates on the EHR Incentive Programs.
eHealth Resources Available on CMS Website
Last week CMS launched its eHealth initiative at the 13th annual HIMSS conference in New Orleans. To help providers and vendors learn more about the initiative, CMS developed new resources about eHealth and how it will improve health care delivery.
Visit the new CMS eHealth website to view the resources, including:
- eHealth Fact Sheet – Explains the goal of eHealth, and how the initiative will affect the future of health care.
- eHealth Roadmap – Provides a visual overview of how eHealth will improve quality of care, create better health outcomes, and reduce costs.
CMS also encourages you to read the blog posts about eHealth on the CMS blog, where you can find updates on eHealth and important program milestones.
Also available to health care publications is an eHealth drop-in article, which allows editors to print and post the content of the document in their publications and websites.
Join the Twitter Conversation!
CMS is tweeting about the EHR Incentive Programs and other eHealth initiatives. Join the conversation by using #CMSeHealth and following the @CMSGov Twitter handle.
Note: Make sure to add email@example.com to your approved senders list so that eHealth listserv messages do not get caught in your spam folder.
Want to find out more about eHealth?
Visit the CMS eHealth website for the latest news and updates on CMS' eHealth initiatives.
CCHIT Responds with Public Comment
Earlier this month, CCHIT offered public comment on two recent ONC plans:
Senate Hearing on HIE Implementation
On Feb. 14, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing, "Health Insurance Exchanges: Progress Report," to examine the status of CMS efforts to implement both the state-based and federally operated health insurance exchanges (HIEs). Established in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for consumers to purchase insurance coverage, HIEs are set to begin open-enrollment in October. Senators expressed concern that significant challenges remain in HIE implementation, that premiums will go up in 2014, and that states need more guidance. To support AOA affiliate organizations on HIEs and Medicaid expansion initiatives, the AOA has prepared a new toolkit, the "State ACA Implementation: Improving Access through HIE Implementation and Medicaid Expansion."
New practice models may help save primary care
Bipartisan Policy Center Health Innovation Initiative
Need Assistance Meeting Meaningful Use or Selecting and Implementing an Electronic Health Record System?
The national network of Regional Extension Centers (RECs) provides education, vendor support and technical assistance to help you implement an EHR and achieve Meaningful Use. Access a list of RECs by State and region. Click here to locate the REC in your area and visit the AOA HIT webpage for additional information on EMR system purchase, implementation and help meeting Meaningful Use.
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