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Understanding the Path to Meaningful Use

As of January 1st, 2011 eligible providers and hospitals can register with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Meaningful use has been broken into 3 stages, which will continue through at least 2015. The meaningful use program is currently in stage 1, which will continue through the end of 2012. Stage 2 is scheduled to begin in 2013, though there is serious discussion among government officials about delaying stage 2 until 2014.  Registering with CMS is the first step to receiving stimulus funds.

Stage 1 of meaningful use is primarily about capturing data and helping physicians ease the transition into EHRs. Stages 2 and 3 will revolve around data analysis and exchange through Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). The final rules for stages 2 and 3 have not yet been defined. Learn more about meaningful use from CMS.

In order to meet meaningful use stage 1, physicians must complete all 15 core measures and 5/10 of the menu measures of the meaningful use requirements. Physicians will have to complete the other 5 menu measures in stage 2 of meaningful use.

Simplifying the Attestation Process

VersaSuite, as an “Eligible Provider” and “Eligible Hospital” Certified Complete EHR, is proud to have helped many of its clients achieve meaningful use and receive government stimulus funds. VersaSuite is even more excited to continue helping physicians achieve meaningful use and ultimately deliver better care to patients.

VersaSuite makes it incredibly easy for physicians of any medical discipline to achieve meaningful use. Because of VersaSuite’s robust and integrated infrastructure, we use the same tools to help doctors of every medical discipline achieve meaningful use in an easy, consistent fashion. So that means primary care providers, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, OB/GYNs, gastroenterologists, pediatric doctors, surgeons of all types, etc can achieve meaningful use using the same tools within VersaSuite.

VersaSuite provides a meaningful use report that doctors, office managers, and hospitals administrators can easily use to track their meaningful use progress on a daily basis. Physicians and hospital administrators can immediately see close they are to achieving meaningful use. This report will also function as official documentation that physicians and hospital administrators submit to CMS to complete meaningful use attestation.

Rewards for Achieving Meaningful Use

Providers that show meaningful use can receive up to $44,000 from Medicare. The following chart shows when Medicare will issue EHR incentive payments based on when meaningful use is shown:

Medicaid is also offering EHR incentive payments up to $63,500 for physicians that meet meaningful use and that have at least 30% of their total patients covered by Medicaid. Doctors that qualify for Medicaid payments are ineligible for Medicare payments. The following chart shows when Medicaid will issue EHR incentive payments based on when meaningful use is shown:

Penalties for not Adopting

Although EHR adoption is not mandatory, Medicare will penalize physicians for not adopting EHR technology by 2015. The penalties reduce the available Medicare reimbursements on a percentage basis, and the penalty increases for each year that doctors don’t adopt the technology.

  • 2015 – 1%
  • 2016 – 2%
  • 2017 – 3%
  • 2018 – 4%
  • 2019 – 5%
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