One of the most frequent questions we get from Care360® EHR users is regarding what they need to do to collect their Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) incentive payments for the Meaningful Use of an electronic health record (EHR). If you’re unfamiliar with this subject or how it applies to your practice, please refer to our previous blog post on Meaningful Use. Today, we are going to focus on the specific steps you’ll need to follow to apply for these incentives:
Choose a program
You’ll have a choice between the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. The incentives and the criteria you have to meet to qualify for these programs vary between the two. Here is a quick comparison:
Medicare EHR Incentive Program
- Offered by the federal government
- Applies to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) that demonstrate Meaningful Use of a certified EHR
- Eligible professionals include doctors of medicine or osteopathy, doctors of dental surgery or dental medicine, dentists, doctors of podiatry, doctors of optometry and chiropractors
- Eligible professionals may qualify for up to $44,000 over five years
- There may be a reduction in reimbursement for providers who don’t demonstrate Meaningful Use by 2015
Medicaid EHR Incentive Program
- Voluntarily offered by certain states and may already be available to you. CMS has a list of participating states
- Applies to eligible professionals, acute care hospitals and children’s hospitals adopting, implementing, upgrading or demonstrating Meaningful Use of a certified EHR in the first year of participation, and continuing to demonstrate Meaningful Use for up to five years
- Eligible providers include physicians (primarily doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy), nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants who furnish services in a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic that is led by a physician assistant
- Eligible professionals may qualify for up to $63,750 over six years
- In order to qualify, providers must have at least a 30% Medicaid patient volume, with the exception of pediatricians, who need a 20% Medicaid patient volume
Find out if you qualify
There are different eligibility requirements for professionals, hospitals and CAHs trying to qualify for EHR incentives through CMS. On the organization’s website, you’ll find an outline of the requirements for each medical setting and an Eligibility Wizard that helps professionals determine for which programs they qualify.
The next step is to register on the CMS website, which you can do even before you’ve adopted a certified EHR. For step-by-step instructions, we recommend you read the user guides found on the same page, which will vary depending on your medical setting.
Select a certified EHR
It’s important to implement an EHR that is certified for Meaningful Use by an ONC-ATCB – otherwise you won’t be eligible for incentive payments. To aid you in the selection process, The Office of the National Coordinator maintains a complete list of certified EHR solutions.
Use your EHR in a meaningful way
The objectives providers must achieve to demonstrate Meaningful Use are detailed, and vary depending on your medical setting. To determine which set of objectives applies to you and how many of them you must achieve, refer to the CMS EHR Meaningful Use Overview.
Complete a CMS Attestation form online
After 90 days of demonstrating Meaningful Use, you’ll need to submit a web-based attestation form to CMS to verify that you’ve been using an EHR in a meaningful way. This attestation is a legal statement that you have been meeting the requirements, and you will have to submit statistics verifying your EHR use. To learn more about how attestation works, read the overview and FAQs provided by CMS.