6 Myths Surrounding ARRA/HITECH EHR Incentives

The following is a guest post provided by Jim Tate, Founder of EMR Advocate and a contributing expert for HITECH Answers.

In a time when hospitals and physicians are seeing declining reimbursements, the ARRA Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is a rare opportunity to be eligible for substantial incentives. However, the road to attaining the incentives is complicated. Uncertainties related to the definition and documentation of meaningful use can translate to lost incentives or, even worse, penalties.

As the definitions governing “meaningful use of certified technology”continue to evolve, it is critical to develop a roadmap to help your organization comply with the moving target of rules regarding compliance and documentation and get your fair share of the incentives.

3 Myths of the Hospital Program

1) Hospitals must decide between the Medicare or Medicaid ARRA incentives: FALSE  – “Eligible hospitals can qualify to receive payments from both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.”

2) Hospitals must meet all requirements by October 1st, 2010 to receive the 2011 incentives: FALSE – “CMS proposes that, for the first year an eligible hospital demonstrates meaningful EHR use, an EHR Reporting Period equals any 90 continuous days beginning and ending within the year.”

3) In 2011 hospitals must electronically transmit all Meaningful Use objectives to CMS. FALSE– “In 2011, all of the results for all objectives/measures, including clinical quality measures would be reported by EPs and hospitals to CMS, or for Medicaid EPs and hospitals to the states, through attestation.”

3 Myths of the EP Program

1) PAs and FNPs are eligible for both the Medicare and Medicaid ARRA incentives: FALSE– “A Medicare EP is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, a doctor of dental surgery or dental medicine, a doctor of podiatric medicine, a doctor of optometry, or a chiropractor.”  “EPs (Medicaid) are physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants practicing predominantly in a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic (FQHC/RHC) that is directed by a physician assistant.”

2) Eligible Providers must meet all requirements by January 1st, 2011 to receive the 2011 Medicare incentives: FALSE – “For the first year an EP applies for and receives an incentive payment, CMS proposes that an EHR Reporting Period is 90 days for any continuous period beginning and ending within the year.”

3) Eligible Providers must meet all ARRA criteria in 2011 to receive the maximum Medicare incentives. FALSE – “In general, a qualifying EP can receive an annual incentive payment as high as $18,000 if their first payment year is 2011 or 2012.”

About EMRIncentives.com
The EMRIncentives Team is led by Jim Tate, founder of EMRAdvocate and nationally recognized expert on the ARRA/HITECH incentive programs. They are dedicated to assisting hospitals and eligible providers as they plan for HIT adoption, achieving Stage 1 Meaningful Use and receiving the upcoming Medicare and Medicaid incentives.