Providers ramp up meaningful use
Nearly 90 percent of eligible hospitals have received an EHR incentive payment, according to figures shared by officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday at HIMSS14.
And while eligible professionals (EPs) haven't yet approached that threshold, they are making impressive progress.
Elizabeth Holland, director of the Health IT Initiatives Group in CMS' Office of E-Health Standards and Services, reported that about 60 percent of Medicare EPs are meaningful users of EHR systems.
In total, over 340,000 Medicare and Medicaid EPs have received an EHR incentive payment, and nearly $21 billion has been paid out, she said.
That’s an impressive amount, but, she cautioned, the agency is aware of its fiduciary responsibility. “We've done a lot of post-pay audits,” she said. “Now our audits have shifted to be pre-pays.”
That means EPs who have successfully demonstrated meaningful use may be subject to an audit before an incentive payment is issued. CMS is also conducting audits to ensure that EPs are using certified EHR technology.
Robert Anthony, deputy director of CMS' Health IT Initiatives Group, said the agency now has three years of experience working with EPs on meaningful use. Audits of providers that have gone through Stage 1 revealed that the top reason for EPs not passing a payment audit is that they do not have documentation to support the attestation numbers entered into the system. “You would be surprised by the number of people who do not maintain that information,” he said.
EPs often fall short in their security risk analysis, he noted. “Many people do not know what they're supposed to do and many others do not perform well. Still others identify what their issues are within their system or practice, but they fail to put together a remediation plan.”
Anthony recommended that EPs with questions visit CMS’ website, where there’s a security risk analysis tip sheet.