Meaningful Use Stage 1, which seemed challenging to many practices when first introduced, is starting to look easier to providers as they now face 2014 Stage 2 attestation. This is partly due to factors beyond providers’ control, including:
- Patient engagement requirements
- Summary care data exchange requirements
- Vendor certification
We addressed the first two items in a previous blog post entitled “Who’s in Control of My Meaningful Use Success? – It Takes a Village.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge at this point, though, is vendor certification. As of Wednesday, January 22, 2014, only 102 ambulatory EHRs were certified as complete EHRs for Stage 2 on the ONC Certified Health IT Product List, with varying requirements for additional software, numbers of Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) certified, etc. These variances in additional software needs and CQMs mean that even an EMR that is certified may not make your attestation easy.
This is a small fraction of the nearly 1,400 complete EMRs certified under the 2011 criteria for ambulatory eligible professionals.
According to a government survey released this week, roughly one physician in eight has an electronic health record (EHR) system capable of supporting most requirements for Stage 2 of the “meaningful use” program.
That’s one in eight physicians.
Only 13% of office-based physicians reporting an intention to participate in the EHR incentive program had a system meeting 14 of the 17 Stage 2 core objectives, according to a report released this week from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Will you need to “rip and replace” your EHR?
A recent article on the EMRandEHR.com blog noted the disconnect between Stage 2 vendor certification and providers’ needs, citing comments by the head of the Medical Group Management Association in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“With vendors largely not ready yet to help practices through Stage 2, practices are likely to have little time to work on software upgrades or expect timely vendor support,” MGMA President and CEO Susan Turney noted in the letter. And worse, she points out, EPs who invested big in Stage 1-certified EMRs might need to “rip and replace” them for a new one certified to meet Stage 2 if they want to avoid Medicare reimbursement cutback deadline.
To determine if your EHR will be able to meet your Stage 2 MU needs, you need to start asking questions. Here are some suggestions:
Important Stage 2 MU Questions to Ask Your EHR Vendor
If not already certified:
- When will your EHR be certified for Stage 2? Will it be in time for our preferred attestation period?
- Do you expect your efforts to achieve certification to be delayed by ICD-10?
- Are you providing guarantees for Stage 2 attestation?
- How many CQMs is the EHR certified for?
- How difficult is it to gather the data needed from the system?
- How much additional software is required in order to achieve certification? Some software packages require a laundry list of add-ons.
Don’t let time work against you
Remember that for Medicare Stage 2 Meaningful Use year 1, you must attest for a Calendar Quarter. That means that the latest you can begin your attestation is Oct. 1, 2014. If your EMR vendor plans to be 2014 Stage 2 Certified by Winter 2014, as at least one has, that’s going to be a problem for you.
Not to mention the fact that Oct. 1, being the deadline for ICD-10, promises to be a busy and challenging time for most practices.
Where is HealthFusion on this continuum?
MediTouch is Stage 2 certified, for starters, and has been since June 2013 (one of the first ambulatory EHRs to receive certification). So there’s no need to ask for our timeline or guarantees. Plus, MediTouch is certified for all 64 Clinical Quality Measures, giving you the maximum number of options available.
Then, we have the Meaningful Use Report Card®. The MediTouch Meaningful Use Report Card is your scorecard, complete with the numerator and denominator data required during attestation. With MediTouch there is virtually no “extra” work to earn your EHR Meaningful Use incentive payment. We provide the easy to read Meaningful Use Report Card for every eligible provider in your practice. Simply use our integrated EHR system as directed and follow the 3 easy steps outlined on our site.
Don’t make your Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation harder than it has to be. If your EHR vendor is not going to be ready to meet your needs, call us at (877)523-2120. We’ll be happy to help you find the solution you need.