$44,000 - $64,000 Per Physician
Reading the 267 pages of the HITECH section of the bill can be tedious and time consuming. As such, we’ve included some of the key points relevant to the EHR incentive payment for physicians. If you have any questions regarding the actual language, please contact us and we will do our best to help.
Basically, the Bill provides that qualified physicians who utilize a certified electronic health record in a “meaningful” way will receive incentive payments through additional reimbursements via either Medicare or Medicaid, depending upon the individual physician’s payor mix.
Starting in 2011, “meaningful” EHR users can earn $44,000 under the Medicare plan and $64,000 under the Medicaid plan over 5 years.
Early adopters benefit the most as about 70% of the payments come in the first two years.
Those engaged in PQRI and electronic prescribing can earn an additional $6,000 - $8,000 per year beginning immediately.
Physicians that do not adopt an EHR by 2015 will be penalized through % decreases in Medicare reimbursements rates.
Many physicians decided to wait until this year before beginning their Meaningful Use attestation – the EHR incentive program is structured such that the full amount of incentive money (cumulative $44,000 per clinician) is the same for 2011 Attesters and those who wait until 2012. The only disadvantage of waiting is that the Stage 1 criteria for Meaningful Use are applied for 3 years to the earlier Attestation group (2011, 2012 and 2013), whereas Stage 1 applies for only 2 years to the later group (2012 and 2013) – everyone will move to the more-rigorous Stage 2 criteria in 2014, regardless of when the program is started.
First-time attestation in 2012
For those who have elected to wait until 2012 to begin their Stage 1 Meaningful Use, the process is the same as for 2011 – 90 days of continuous use of the EHR need to be demonstrated in the 2012 calendar year. Unlike 2011, when the program roll-out and product readiness were not available until the end of the year, in 2012 the measurement period can begin right away. That means that by March, the 90 day period can be concluded and Attestation can take place at that time.
In fact, for 2012, any 90-day period can be used as the measure period, depending on the clinician’s readiness. Once the measure period has been completed, then attestation can occur, and incentive money can be dispensed.
2012 for those who attested in 2011
Once attestation for the 2011 year has been completed, the intent of Meaningful Use is to continue the usage of the implemented EHR going forward. For the second year, and every year thereafter, the full calendar year (not just the 90 day period that applied to the first year) is the measurement period for ensuing reporting.
All the behaviors that were adopted for the first year including:
- eRx for prescribing practices
- patient enrollment in the EHR (or printing out of clinical summaries after each visit)
- capturing all the demographics
- coding medications
- allergies and diagnoses,
- and more
These habits must be continued as the “way of doing business” using the EHR. That means that keeping track of how one is doing, using the Meaningful Use Dashboard, is a good idea to review on a periodic basis during the course of the 2012 year. The eClinicalWorks EHR platform has an MAQ Dashboard that tracks your progress in a simple, easy to use display.
PECOS Eligibility Requirements
Eligible professionals must have an enrollment record in the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) in order to receive a Medicare EHR incentive payment. Because you submit claims and receive payments from Medicare does not mean you have an enrollment record in PECOS. Here are CMS instructions on PECOS enrollment.
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