A popular adage dictates that if something isn’t broken, you shouldn’t try to fix it. Chances are, no one has ever said that about the meaningful use program. On March 20, 2015, CMS released the proposed rule for Stage 3 of meaningful use. Now in its fifth year, the well-intentioned but controversial program is often criticized for being overly complicated, burdensome, and reliant on EHR technology not yet in production. As we continue to sift through the new rule’s 300+ pages, two key questions come to mind: Continue reading
Accountable Care Organization
Since its inception in 2009 as a key piece of the Affordable Care Act, the goals of the accountable care organization (ACO) have been clear: provide timely, coordinated care; manage at-risk populations; and eliminate redundancy across the continuum. But while the goals may be straightforward, the best ways to implement an ACO are not. Continue reading
Sweeping changes to the meaningful use (MU) EHR Incentive Program have been proposed. On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) proposed policy changes that will delay the mandatory use of 2014 Edition Certified EHR technology (CEHRT) to meet MU requirements. Further, the proposed changes also allow those Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) originally required to use Stage 2 criteria in 2014 to use Stage 1 criteria instead. This means that Stage 2 measures will not be mandatory until 2015. Additionally, the proposal would extend Stage 2 one year through 2016. The intent behind this recommendation is to give participating organizations extra time to properly implement 2014-certified software releases that may have been delayed, as well as build in more time for all parties to prepare for Stage 3. Continue reading
Develop a practice culture that sees the “meaning” in meaningful use.
“Meaningful use” started out as two simple words in a piece of legislation passed by Congress in 2009. Since that time, the term has grown, changed, and taken on a variety of new connotations. Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the time the legislation was passed, stated shortly after, “The meaningful use framework will be about the goals of care, not the technology.”
Five years later, many have lost the connection between meaningful use and these goals. According to a recent poll conducted by Stoltenberg Consulting at the 2014 HIMSS Conference, 70% of respondents don’t think their organizations are realizing the full potential of meaningful use. Continue reading
In a previous post, we discussed how preparation by providers for Stage 2 of CMS’s meaningful use is a multi-step initiative. The best place to begin is with a list of the Stage 2 measures, divided into three categories: threshold increases, measures that move from menu to core, and new measures. Once these designations are made, planning should begin on the most difficult measures. In Year 1 of Stage 2, attestations are tied to each calendar quarter (instead of to any 90-day period, as with Stage 1), so there will only be four chances to attest successfully in 2014. With fewer Year 1 attestation opportunities in Stage 2, mastering the more challenging measures in a timely manner will prove vital to continued meaningful use progress.