Too Late to Attest? Tips for Meaningful Use Stage 1 Latecomers

Meaningful Use is a challenge, and it’s no surprise if you still haven’t tried attesting for Stage 1. After all, even the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) knows it may have complicated issues to deal with if they don’t either simplify measures or better educate doctors nationwide.

We know the transition to electronic health records is a tedious process, and in some cases, it may change the way your practice operates. This may represent fundamental problem doctors across the country are experiencing.

But attestation is equally intimidating, and since the advent of Stage 2 has created quite a bit of buzz, we’re providing tips for latecomers below. It’s never too late to begin attesting.

Myth: It’s Too Late
Is it too late to start now? Not precisely. While providers can qualify for Stage 1 and begin receiving incentive payments starting in 2011, you have until 2015 to comply with all three stages of Meaningful Use criteria. But the longer you wait, the more criteria and the less time, so start today!

The Basics: EHR and Workflows
Before you think of attesting, take your time choosing an EHR based on functionality, usability and connectivity, and carefully outline your practice’s workflow and processes so the EHR transition doesn’t catch you and your practice off guard.

Prioritization and Governance Structure
Now you can create priority and governance structures for Meaningful Use compliance. The first is as straightforward as it sounds – lay out the requirements, see which ones are easiest to comply with, and zero in on those first. Then order them in increasing difficulty. This is also an opportune moment for your practice to identify risks and gaps, as well as to conduct a comprehensive SWOT analysis.

Governance structure entails assigning a project manager and a committee to make decisions on compliance prioritization and timelines, ensure use of certified electronic health record technology, suggest cultural changes in practice habits, and more.

Exclusion from Measures
Figure out whether you can be excluded from an objective if it’s not something you regularly perform at your practice. If there is no exclusion, then find ways to quickly incorporate the objective into your procedures.

Collecting and Reporting Data
A certified EHR must calculate necessary data for every CQM. Each electronic specification contains four components:

  • Measure overview, which contains title and description;
  • Measure logic, which includes population criteria;
  • Measure code lists, meaning all relevant codes; and
  • QDS elements, or Quality Data Sets for all measures.

Electronic Exchange of Information
Figure out what eligible professionals, sometimes even within your own practice, meet the objective for the electronic exchange of information.

Computerized Physician Order Entry
Physicians are having issues with specified licensing and other benchmarks associated with the computerized physician order entry (CPOE) medication order requirement.

Clinical Decision Support Measures
Find out if you meet clinical decision support measures. Keep in mind, though, that drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction alerts do not suffice to meet the CDS measure.

Understanding Attestation Requirements
Lastly, don’t forget that you first need to register with CMS to attest to Meaningful Use. Ensure you have a National Provider Identifier (NPI) and an enrollment record in the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) when you do. Also, take note of reporting periods, which must fall within the calendar year for professionals and the Federal fiscal year for regular and critical access hospitals.

It doesn’t end there, however. CMS may conduct audits to ensure you’re maintaining compliance, and you should be prepared. Save supporting electronic or paper documentation that supports your attestation and payment calculations.

And there you have it. If you haven’t begun attesting for Meaningful Use, don’t waste time and get started today. If you have additional questions, sign up for this free webinar, Meaningful Use Made Simple!

Are you almost ready to begin attesting for Meaningful Use?

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