If you’re a specialist considering Meaningful Use, you may be feeling a bit left out of all the Meaningful Use fun. Or if you’ve decided to take the plunge, participating in Meaningful Use may feel like more of an uphill battle than you expected. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has taken note of the difficulties that specialty providers face in meeting the requirements for the EHR Incentive Program and put together a Meaningful Use Tip Sheet for Specialty Providers.
Here are some highlights:
Using Data Entered by Other Providers
- CMS encourages specialists to use data supplied by referring and other providers to comply with the Meaningful Use reporting requirements.
- Specialists who share an EHR with other providers can count in the numerator for those patients for whom other providers have entered information.
Clinical Summaries: Determining Office Visits
- A specialist who does not have office visits with patients is excluded from the Meaningful Use objective to “provide clinical summaries for patients after each office visit”.
- For the EHR Incentive Programs, an office visit includes separate, billable encounters that result from evaluation and management services provided to the patient.
- CMS recognizes that even with the available exclusions and the flexibility of obtaining information through electronic exchange, certain specialists may find it difficult to demonstrate Meaningful Use.
- Certain specialists may apply for a hardship exception to avoid the EHR Incentive Program payment adjustments that begin in 2015.
- If you are a specialist or a provider who lacks control over the availability of Certified EHR Technology at one or more of your practice locations and therefore cannot use Certified EHR Technology at practice locations for 50 percent or more of your patient encounters, you may also apply for a hardship exception to the payment adjustments.
The requirements to achieve Meaningful Use don’t have to be out of reach for specialty providers. With the right information and understanding of how the program criteria can be applied to your workflows, the incentive payments may be available to you.
For more information on the Meaningful Use program, refer to the CMS EHR Incentive Program website, recently released CMS FAQs related to specialty providers (here and here), and the Practice Fusion Meaningful Use Center.