Meaningful Use 101
Have questions about Meaningful Use? Get answers quickly by navigating to your question below.
- What is Meaningful Use?
- Why start Meaningful Use in 2013?
- Who is qualified for Meaningful Use?
- How do Meaningful Use criteria work?
- How much can I make?
- What are the penalties?
- How do I get started?
- Who is in charge of Meaningful Use?
What is Meaningful Use?
Meaningful Use is a government program that encourages medical providers to adopt and use an EHR to improve quality of care by providing up to $39,000 per eligible Medicare provider ($63,750 for eligible Medicaid professionals). Incentive funds are designed to help doctors make the transition to electronic records and can be used at the individual physician’s discretion.
To receive payments, you need to demonstrate a set of Meaningful Use criteria that serve as a roadmap for effective EHR adoption. During your first year in the program, you will only have to fulfill the criteria over a shortened 90-day reporting period—which can be started by October 3 at the very latest. You can then attest to CMS after your reporting period to earn your incentive.
You can get started in less than five minutes on our free EHR—start today to beat this year’s deadline of October 3rd.
Why start Meaningful Use in 2013?
Meaningful Use incentives payments are based on the year in which you first successfully complete the requirements. By starting your Meaningful Use program in 2013 rather than 2014, you have the potential to earn more money with easier requirements.
The maximum incentive for providers who participate in Medicare and begin in 2013 is $39,000—which decreases to $24,000 in 2014. That’s a total of $15,000 you will lose out on by beginning in 2014. Another factor is the criteria to demonstrate meaningful use of an EHR will be more rigorous beginning in 2014.
Who is qualified for Meaningful Use?
If you see Medicare or Medicaid patients, you may be eligible for Meaningful Use incentives.
How do Meaningful Use criteria work?
Meaningful Use includes core criteria that you must meet to prove effective use of an EHR in your practice. You also must choose five out of ten menu criteria to fulfill. During your first year in the Medicare program, you will only have to fulfill the criteria over a 90-day reporting period, after which you must demonstrate the criteria year round. If you qualify for the Medicaid program, you only need to adopt an EHR in your first year, followed by a 90-day reporting period in Year 2 and full-year reporting periods thereafter.
Stage 1 Core CriteriaAll measures required
|Measure||Threshold (must be exceeded)|
|1||CPOE for Medication Orders||30%|
|2||Drug Interaction Checks||Functionality enabled|
|3||Maintain Problem List||80%|
|5||Active Medication List||80%|
|6||Medication Allergy List||80%|
|10||Clinical Decision Support||Functionality enabled|
|11||Electronic Copy of Health Information||50%|
|13||Protect Electronic Health Information||One-time action|
Stage 1 Menu CriteriaComplete 5/10 Menu (one must be Public health)
|Measure||Threshold (must be exceeded)|
|1||Drug Formulary Checks||Functionality enabled|
|2||Clinical Lab Test Results||40%|
|4||Send Patient Reminders||20%|
|5||Patient Electronic Access||10%|
|6||Patient-specific Education Resources||10%|
|7||Perform Medication Reconciliation||50%|
|8||Transition of Care Summaries||50%|
|9||Immunization Registry Data Submission (Public health)||One-time|
|10||Syndromic Surveillance Data Submission (Public health)||One-time|
Clinical Quality Measures
Meaningful Use requires to you to report an additional set of clinical quality measures (CQMs). CQMs provide insight into the quality of treatment and patient outcomes for specific segments of your patient population. You will not need to meet a threshold for CQMs at this time but you will need to run a CQM report in Practice Fusion before you attest.
Stages of Meaningful use
After your first 2-3 years of the program (Stage 1), you will be expected to adopt additional criteria to achieve Meaningful Use in Stages 2 and 3 of the program. These stages are established by the government to encourage providers to expand upon their EHR usage to further improve care in the US healthcare system:
Stage 1: Basic EHR adoption to capture clinical data electronically
Stage 2: Promoting health information sharing between providers and greater patient engagement with their personal electronic records
Stage 3: Expanding and solidifying Meaningful Use objectives to improve health outcomes
|1st year||Stage of Meaningful Use|
How much can I make?
Providers who start in 2013 can receive up to $39,000 in Medicare incentives. The amount of incentives you can earn will drop in 2014, the last year you can begin Meaningful Use and still earn incentives.
Note that annual Medicare incentive payments are 75% of your total annual Medicare Part B allowed charges up to a maximum yearly payment amount (see below) . If you earn less than 75% of the maximum incentive payment during a reporting year, your incentive payment will be disbursed the following April based on your Medicare Part B reimbursements during the reporting year.
After 2014, you face up to 5% in Medicare fee reductions if you have yet to adopt an EHR:
|Adopted in...||2011||2012||2013||2014||No Adoption|
If you are a Medicaid-eligible provider, you have until 2016 to pursue $63,750 in incentives. As the Medicaid EHR incentive programs are administered by the states, you should consult the CMS state program list to find more accurate information about your state’s payment calculation and schedule.
What are the penalties?
Penalties will apply to Medicare eligible professionals (EPs) who do not demonstrate Meaningful Use. Medicaid EPs who see patients under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) are also subject to a payment reduction.
Starting in 2015, you will be charged 1% of Medicare PFS reimbursements with penalties increasing each year up to 5%, until you demonstrate Meaningful Use. The penalties will be applied two calendar years later—so if you do not meet Meaningful Use in 2013, you will be penalized in 2015.
EP’s participating in the EHR Incentive Program for the first time in 2014 can also avoid the penalty by successfully attesting to Meaningful Use before October 1. This requires first time participants to start their reporting period no later than July 1 in 2014.
How do I get started?
Once you check your eligibility, the first step is to sign up with a certified EHR. You can get started in less than five minutes with our free EHR, making it the easiest and simplest way to begin pursuing incentives.
After signing up, download our Action Plan for a quick resource guide on achieving your criteria. Once you familiarize yourself with the criteria, all you need to do is begin following them in your practice while using your EHR. Our live webinars with our Meaningful Use experts can help you get started quickly and learn best practices.
With our daily Meaningful Use Dashboard updates and criteria Gap Report, it’s easy to check your progress and see where you may need to catch up. Our free, award-winning Meaningful Use support can also answer any questions you have moving forward.
Who oversees Meaningful Use?HITECH Act Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act
The HITECH Act allocates $19 billion in funds to promote the adoption of Meaningful Use certified EHRs by hospitals and providers. The HITECH act is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or the “stimulus plan”) signed into law by President Obama in 2009, which includes $59 billion in healthcare initiatives.CMS Center for Medicare and Medicare Services
CMS is in charge of distributing incentives to eligible providers. All providers and hospitals pursuing Meaningful Use must register and attest with CMS to receive their incentives.ONC Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Founded in 2004 within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the ONC leverages funds from the HITECH Act to oversee Meaningful Use certification for EHR technology and set national goals for health IT adoption. The ONC also manages over 70 regional extension centers (RECs), which provide local EHR assistance for providers.