A final rule on Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive program will be released by the beginning of September, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services official said during a webinar Aug. 14.
A proposed rule on Stage 2 “meaningful use” was released in March, Robert Anthony, a specialist with CMS's Office of E-Health Standards and Services, said during the webinar, which was co-sponsored by CMS and the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (see previous article).
Moving forward, Anthony said CMS will audit providers participating in the meaningful use incentive program. While he would not discuss specifics as to what CMS will look for in the audits, he did say there will be a focus on providers who exhibit substantial noncompliance with the program.
Anthony also said the majority of audits would be desk audits, with relatively few involving a personal visit.
Providers looking to prepare for a potential audit should check and double check their data before submitting it to CMS, Anthony said. Additionally, he said they should retain all relevant supporting documents pertaining to their EHRs.
Anthony defined EHR meaningful use as:
• using certified EHRs in a meaningful manner, such as for e-prescribing;
• using certified EHRs for the electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of care; and
• using certified EHRs to submit clinical quality measures to CMS.
Anthony said that in order for providers to qualify for Stage 1 incentive payments, they must complete and report on 15 core objectives, such as recording patient vital signs and patient smoking status. In addition, providers must report five out of 10 menu objectives, which range from checking drug formulary lists to generating lists of patients by specific conditions.
A final Stage 1 requirement involves reporting on six clinical quality measures, Anthony said.
Anthony said some meaningful use objectives are not applicable to all providers, and providers can get exemptions from completing some of the objectives.