The need for effective patient care has driven governments to move the healthcare industry into the digital world. To promote this among the eligible providers and stop the innumerable cases of data loss due to transfer of information on paper charts the government is giving incentives to those who adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR). However, with 2014 being considered as the last year to apply for government incentives, come 2015, the eligible providers may face penalties that will accumulate over time. The Eligible Providers (EPs) therefore need to take up proactive steps towards meaningfully using their EHR technology.
“Meaningful Use of EHR” is a Medicare and Medicaid program that awards incentives for using certified electronic health records (EHRs). This program enables healthcare providers to provide patients with improved patient care. However, to achieve the stamp of “Meaningful Use” and avoid any penalties these providers must follow the roadmap to effective usage of EHR not later than 2014. While this program encourages switch over to electronic records, it is not just the improved patient care but also includes improved efficiency and performance levels along with government incentives for the healthcare providers. The eligible healthcare providers who have not yet ventured into the meaningful use of EHR will be penalized in 2015 with a 1% equivalent to their Medicare Part B Reimbursement.
Staying away from penalties therefore calls for smart decision making. Moreover, to check on the EP’s attestation of meaningful use program and collection of incentives, government will be conducting random audits. The healthcare providers need to have in place all their documentation irrespective of whether it is in-house or outsourced. 2014 being the last year to begin MU and EHR incentive program, the EP’s not only lose out on $23,520 but will also be penalized in 2015.
Moreover, there are reports of CMS targeting 257,000 doctors with meaningful use penalties beginning January 5th, 2015. The EP’s need to therefore demonstrate that they have adhered to MU regulation since Oct 1, 2014 in order to avoid any penalty.
However, EP’s can still cut their losses by:
- Building a dedicated MU team who can initiate and adhere to the regulations.
- Demonstrating meaningful Use program prior to 2015.
- Availing hardship exceptions for EP’s.
- Making use of an integrated EHR or outsourcing services of specialist.
The Aegify solution through its simplified process will help EP’s achieve Meaningful Use status. Being a powerful, simple-to-use, cloud-based solution, Aegify provides all the necessary expertise to assess, analyze and mitigate regulatory risk while adhering to the on-going HIPAA/HITECH compliance. While this solution provides eligible professionals every means to secure the federal grant through tools that demonstrate meaningful use, it also helps them meet the industry-wide perspective of HIPAA compliance. Aegify SecureGRC, with its built-in assessment of meaningful use, produces reports that can be used for filing the online application for grant. This addresses the requirements relating to meaningful use core measures, menu measures, clinical quality measures, and in particular addresses requirement for eligible hospitals as well as for EP’s with respect to risk analysis.