How to Avoid Meaningful Use Penalties in 2016

In this months post, we take a look at a recent article posted on Radiology and HIT Blog discusses two ways to avoid MU penalties coming next year.

The negative payment adjustments for non-participation in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program (“Meaningful Use” or MU) will increase to -2% off covered professional services in calendar year (CY) 2016. Physicians who are eligible for the Medicare version of the program will have two ways to avoid the 2016 penalties:

Option 1: Compliance

  • Prior MU participants must have been a Meaningful EHR User in 2014 to avoid the 2016 penalties. If the prior MU participant was not MU-compliant in 2014, he/she must use Option 2 below.
  • Those who have never participated in MU must begin participating by July 1, 2015 and complete the attestation process by October 1, 2015 (at the latest) to avoid 2016 penalties. If the first-time participant does not meet the attestation deadline, he/she must use Option 2 below.

Option 2: Significant hardship exception

Regardless of whether or not a physician was MU compliant in the past, he/she can obtain one of several “significant hardship exceptions” to avoid 2016 penalties. CMS can grant these to physicians on an annual basis for up to 5 total years. The various available significant hardship exceptions are as follows:

  • Lacking broadband/infrastructure
  • Newly practicing
  • Extreme and uncontrollable circumstances
  • Inability to influence availability of certified EHR technology (CEHRT)
  • Lack of face-to-face/telemedicine interaction with patients AND lack of need for follow-up
  • Primary specialty listing in PECOS

Read more on the Radiology and HIT Blog.

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CMS Announces Intent to Engage in Rulemaking for EHR Incentive Program Changes for 2015

In this month’s post, we take a look at a recent CMS blog post that discusses the organization’s intent to modify requirements for Meaningful Use.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) intends to engage in rulemaking this spring to help ensure providers continue to meet meaningful use requirements. In response to input from health care providers and other stakeholders, CMS is considering the following changes to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs:

  • Shortening the 2015 reporting period to 90 days to address provider concerns about their ability to fully deploy 2014 Edition software
  • Realigning hospital reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition software into their workflows and to better align with other quality programs
  • Modifying other aspects of the programs to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burden

These proposed changes reflect the Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to creating a health information technology infrastructure that (1) elevates patient-centered care, (2) improves health outcomes, and (3) supports the providers who care for patients.

While CMS intends to pursue these changes through rulemaking, they will not be included in the pending Stage 3 proposed rule. CMS intends to limit the scope of the pending proposed rule to Stage 3 and meaningful use in 2017 and beyond.

Read more about this announcement on the CMS blog.

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White House Reviewing CMS and ONC Proposed Rules to Update the EHR Incentive Program and HIT Certification Requirements

In this month’s post, we take a look at a recent post on the Radiology and Health IT Blog.

An article posted on Radiology and HIT Blog discusses important updates to the EHR Incentive Program and certification requirements.

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted proposed rules to update the EHR Incentive Program participation and technology certification requirements for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review. OIRA review is one of the final steps in the federal rulemaking process prior to submission to the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Public stakeholders will be able to access the text of these two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for the first time when they are placed on the OFR’s Public Inspection Desk. So, while we know that public release of the NPRMs is imminent (OIRA review could last up to 90 days – usually closer to a month or two), the only information we have about the content at the moment is included in the rough descriptions on OIRA’s website.

The description for CMS’ NRPM, “Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs–Stage 3” (RIN: 0938-AS26), indicates that it will propose changes to “the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use.” It goes on to say that “These changes will provide a flexible, yet, clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements.” Hopefully, this means physician participants will be rewarded with a new, much-needed infusion of flexibility this rulemaking cycle.

Read entire article on Radiology and HIT Blog

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Meaningful Use Highlights from RSNA 2014

In this month’s post, we take a look at news and industry updates from RSNA 2014.

RSNA 2014 offered a number of educational tracks and sessions dedicated to the subject. From information packed sessions for radiology IT providers, to discussions with leaders in the field, there was something for everyone impacted by the CMS EHR Incentive Programs. What’s more, this year’s conference featured a number of new solutions and CEHRT designed for, and used for attestation by, radiology professionals.

Furthermore, many feature articles have been published over the past 2 weeks that focus on the topic of meaningful use and provide an excellent recap of the sessions and discussions that took place at the conference.

MU News from RSNA 2014

  • For Academic Radiologists, Meaningful Use Takes Support – Read more…
  • Fridsma: Meaningful use causing ‘real fatigue’ – Read more…
  • In Manhattan, One Radiology Group Pushes Ahead on Meaningful Use – Read more…
  • At RSNA 2014, GE exec raps radiology meaningful use (Podcast) – Read more…

MU Announcements from RSNA 2014

  • Carestream Highlights MU Certification, PACS Updates – Read more…
  • RamSoft PowerServer Achieves ONC HIT 2014 Edition Complete EHR Certification from ICSA Labs – Read more…
  • Merge Healthcare and NextGen Healthcare Partner to Provide Advanced Interoperability for Increased Provider Satisfaction and Enhanced Patient Care – Read more…

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“Must See” MU Sessions at RSNA 2014

In this month’s post, we take a look at RSNA 2014 MU sessions.

In less than 3 weeks, nearly 60,000 radiology professionals from around the world will converge on Chicago to witness the latest discoveries, techniques and innovations for diagnostic imaging.

Every year there are certain topics that take the stage at RSNA, and 2014 is no exception-imaging decision support, structured data capture, data mining, radiation dosing, image sharing, and mobile devices are just a few notable topics. In addition to technological advancement, lessons learned and shared experiences about the CMS EHR Incentive Programs, or “meaningful use,” is sure to be a topic of discussion as it has been in recent years.

And to help you plan your trip to Chicago, we’ve compiled a list of “must see” MU sessions at RSNA 2014.

  • Tuesday 12/02/14 (8:30-10:00AM/RC354): Health IT Incentive Programs: Experience from Radiology Practices in Hospitals and Health Systems
    Presenter(s): Ramin Khorasani, MD, Curtis P Langlotz, MD, PhD, Keith D Hentel, MD, MS
  • Wednesday 12/03/14 (8:30-10:00AM/RC554): The Future of Federal Health Information Technology Incentive Programs and Policies: Expert Panel
    Presenter(s): Curtis P Langlotz, MD, PhD, Douglas B Fridsma, MD, PhD, John D Halamka, MD, MS, David S Mendelson, MD, Paul C Tang, MD
  • Thursday 12/04/14 (8:30-10:00AM/RC654): Health IT Incentive Programs: Experience from Private Radiology Practices
    Presenter(s): J.R Geis, MD, Alan D Kaye, MD, James Whitfill, MD, Alberto F Goldszal, PhD, MBA, Douglas B Fridsma, MD, PhD
  • Thursday 12/04/14 (4:30-6:00PM/RC754): Health IT Incentive Programs: Implications for Radiology IT Vendors. What Your Customers will Demand and Your Competition will Provide
    Presenter(s): Keith J Dreyer, DO, PhD, David E Avrin, MD, PhD
  • Friday 12/05/14 (10:30AM-12:00PM/RCC62): Managing Radiology IT in the EHR World
    Moderator(s): J.R Geis, MD
    Presenter(s): Keith J Dreyer, DO, PhD, Peter B Sachs, MD, Cree M Gaskin, MD, Gary J Wendt, MD, MBA

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MedInformatix Helps Las Vegas Practice Triple in Size

In this month’s post, we take a look at a MU success story from Pueblo Medical Imaging in Las Vegas, NV.

MedInformatix, a pioneer in the field of healthcare informatics, is delivering new levels of EHR efficiency to Pueblo Medical Imaging, one of the fastest growing diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology service providers in the Las Vegas region.

MedInformatix installed its RIS V7.5 in 2006, a time when Pueblo was seeing approximately 24,000 outpatients annually. Initially, the practice was not using the complete functionality of the RIS but, over time, added advanced billing and reporting features to help accommodate the more than 90,000 outpatients currently processed through their practice each year.

Pueblo Administrator Darren Blanford credits MedInformatix with providing him the tools and customer service to help the practice manage this impressive growth. And he says MedInformatix has helped Pueblo realize a “Paperless Patient Experience” that streamlines office procedures, increases data and workflow efficiencies, and minimizes the administrative burden for physicians and patients alike. “We have made a real commitment to achieve a paperless RIS and filmless PACS environment, from the time patients first walk in our office to the time they review images and follow-up courses of treatment with physicians. We think this contributes to better patient service and that ultimately means better patient care.”

Pueblo is currently upgrading its RIS to MedInformatix V7.6, one of the most comprehensive and technologically-advanced solutions on the market today. With the launch of V7.6 earlier this year, LA-based MedInformatix was among the first in the industry to be certified for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, as a Complete EHR for all 64 Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs).

“Pueblo has grown to be among the most enterprising radiology facilities in the Las Vegas Valley,” said Tom McGonigle, CEO of MedInformatix. “We are proud to contribute to their success.”

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Practice Obtains MU Incentives with Some Help from its Longtime Technology Partner

In this month’s post, we take a look at a MU success story from Hartsdale Imaging in Hartsdale, NY.

Hartsdale Imaging (HI) in Hartsdale, NY has five fellowship-trained, board-certified radiologists combining both interventional and a full array of conventional multi-modality procedures.

Maintaining its tradition of innovation, forward-thinking HI became part of the first wave of imaging centers to tackle the challenges of MU for radiology in order to obtain Medicare incentives. However, a specific MU challenge was that the practice handled both patient encounters and standard radiology visits.

Fortunately, HI did not have to look any further than its own “backyard” where ADS technology had been helping the practice hum with efficiency for more than twenty years. ADS systems used include MedicsRIS and MedicsPremier for radiology PM.

Joseph Casoria, HI’s Practice Administrator noted that ADS worked closely with HI’s staff in mapping out a strategy that would most efficiently enable MU compliance with a minimum of interruption to existing workflows.

ADS reviewed how the MedicsDocAssistant EHR for Radiology would be able to support HI’s MU strategy and discussed how other ADS radiology clients successfully attested for MU. HI’s radiologists have since attested twice for Stage 1, receiving both sets of incentives and they are now looking forward to attesting to Stage 2.

“The built-in Medics MU Dashboard was an invaluable tool in reporting on the radiologists’ individual MU progress,” Casoria noted.

Besides their own incentives, HI uses MedicsConnect from ADS, a built-in capability in MedicsRIS enabling HI to securely transmit their radiology reports (via SFTP) directly to their referring physicians’ EHRs. This helps HI’s referring physicians satisfy one of their major Stage 2 requirements in the process.

Mr. Casoria said, “MedicsConnect has brought the delivery of HI’s radiology reports to a new level. Our referring physicians love how our reports are received cleanly, and in EHR-enabled format. Without question, MedicsConnect helps keep our referrers referring.”

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