Confusion over Oct. 3 deadline for EHR Incentive Programs

Jim Tate, Meaningful Use Expert

How Do We Report Meaningful Use?

What would the Dali Lama do?

In the past week I have run across numerous examples of confusion and misinformation about the CMS EHR Incentive Programs. Last week this question was received: “To whom and how do we report our meaningful use?”

The questioner obviously needs quite a bit of education on the basics of the incentives. Perhaps there are quite a few stakeholders out there who are like Rip Van Winkle and just woke up from a 2 year nap. I hope they had some happy dreams. As far as misinformation goes, last week I received a marketing email from a large transcription/EMR company (who shall not be named) that stated: “The time for you to receive full incentive payments for utilizing and meeting the requirements of a “certified” EHR is quickly running out! Incentives from the HITECH Act means healthcare professionals could be eligible to receive up to $44,000 for the “Meaningful Use” of their “certified” electronic health records. The amount of these incentives will begin to decrease starting on October 3, 2011.”

No wonder people are confused with information like that being distributed. I wanted to pull my hair out. They were only off by an entire year for the Medicare incentives and 5 years for the Medicaid incentives. No wonder even the ‘experts’ are confused with all this distraction and chaos. All this got me thinking: “What would the Dali Lama do if he was in charge of the educating the teeming masses on the CMS EHR incentives”? Well, I bet he wouldn’t pull his hair out, looks like that is mostly gone already. I’m thinking he would consider us all as sentient beings desperately in need of compassion and enlightenment in the Stages of Meaningful Use. Maybe he would greet all our endless and repetitive questions with an all knowing smile and suggest we get in touch with our inner objectives and workflow. Maybe he would suggest we reread the Final Rule with our Third Eye. Maybe he would tell us to do something really radical and just focus on the patient in front of us and not worry too much about the incentives. Maybe he would suggest we pay attention to the journey and not the destination. I really don’t know what he would say. I’m just a sentient being.

Jim Tate is a nationally recognized expert on the CMS EHR Incentive Program, certified technology and meaningful use and author of The Incentive Roadmap® The Meaningful Use of Certified Technology: Stage 1.