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From Health Law Daily, February 10, 2014

Deadline for submitting attestation for meaningful use of EHR extended

By Jay Nawrocki, MA

Eligible professionals (EPs) will have an additional month—until March 31, 2014—to attest to meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHR) under Medicare’s EHR incentive program for reporting year 2013. Hospitals will have until March 15, 2014, to submit a retroactive attestation to participate in the 2013 program year. These extensions will provide more time for EPs and providers to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2013 program year, and avoid a payment adjustment in 2015.

EHR incentive program. Beginning in 2011, incentive payments have been made available to those eligible hospitals and professionals that meet the Stage 1 meaningful use rule requirements. Incentive payments are available under the Medicare program for four consecutive years. Eligible professionals are eligible to receive an incentive payment of up to $15,000 for the first year in which they attest to meaningful use of EHR. The second year payment is $12,000, the third year payment is $8,000, the fourth year payment is $4,000, and the fifth year payment is $2,000, according to 42 C.F.R. sec. 495.102.

Beginning in 2015, payments for eligible professionals will be reduced if the professionals are not using EHR meaningfully. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act  which was adopted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (P.L. 111-5) states that beginning in fiscal year 2015, and every year thereafter, if an eligible hospital is not a meaningful EHR user, then three fourths of the applicable percentage increase that the hospital would have received will be reduced: by 331/3 percent in 2015; by 662/3 percent in 2016, and by 100 percent in 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter. Eligible professionals that are not meaningfully using certified EHR technology by 2015 will have their Medicare physician fee schedule amount of service reduced by 1 percent in 2015, by 2 percent in 2016, by 3 percent in 2017, and 3 percent every year thereafter according to Social Security Act Sec. 1848(a)(7)(A)(ii).

An eligible professional is Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy, a doctor of dental surgery or dental medicine, a podiatrist, an optometrist, or a chiropractor. To receive the incentive payment, eligible hospitals and professionals must demonstrate meaningful use for the entire year.

Attestation. The attestation process requires eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) to agree with the following attestation statements (1) The information submitted for clinical quality measures (CQMs) was generated as output from an identified certified EHR technology; (2) The information submitted is accurate to the knowledge and belief of the eligible professional or the person submitting on behalf of the eligible professional, eligible hospital, or CAH; (3) The information submitted is accurate and complete for numerators, denominators, exclusions, and measures applicable to the eligible professional, eligible hospital, or CAH; and (4) The information submitted includes information on all patients to whom the measure applies. CMS considers information to be accurate and complete for CQMs if it is identical to the output generated from certified EHR technology. By agreeing to the above statements, the eligible professional, eligible hospital, or CAH is attesting that the information for CQMs entered into the Registration and Attestation System is identical to the information generated from certified EHR technology.

Eligible professionals may use the Registration and Attestation System to submit their attestation of meaningful use for the 2013 reporting year. Eligible hospitals should contact CMS via email at EH2013Extension@Provider-Resouces.com for assistance in submitting a retroactive attestation. Remember hospitals need to submit their application for retroactive attestation 16 days earlier than eligible professionals, or March 15, 2014 for hospitals to submit their retroactive attestation and March 31, 2014 for eligible professionals to submit their attestation.

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