Meaningful Use (MU) – the latest mandate from CMS (Medicare), has in place incentive programs to encourage providers to use Electronic Health Records (EHRs). They were to adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Compliance dates have varied with the latest of February 2015 for “attestation” for Medicare eligible providers (and Medicaid programs are part of it too). Providers must demonstrate MU to receive payment and penalties are assessed if they don’t comply. It is estimated the penalties will exceed $1 Billion. As of the end of 2014, only 2% of providers had met the MU regulations.
The problem is EHRs are dependent on the vendors who supply them. Under the MU2 regulations, the vendor is supposed to be certified. If the vendor does not then providers may recover some of the lost revenue. Experts say that as many as half the EHR vendors may go out of business in the next couple of years. This would leave a practice without a workable or supportable EHR system, subject to the payment penalties.
Core Objectives to meet the MU requirements are available at the CMA website.
Providers must analyze whether their practice software is meeting the requirements. With so many complaints about the complexity of the software in its office usability and functionality, it is important to discover if the tool is being used to its full capability. Staff must be adequately trained to make it works well and must use it regularly. If it is hopeless, then new software much be acquired but providers must make sure it meets the MU2 regulations.
The idea with the EHRs was to allow providers to provide better care, make the medical information available to providers sharing individual patient care, reduce errors in medical services, provide more accurate documentation, coding and billing, and hopefully cut costs in testing and various related overhead. All worthy goals, but thus far, nothing has worked out very well, and the process has cost an enormous amount of money and time.
If you want to learn more about EHR training, it is available at www.med-certification.com as well as various other healthcare related core medical careers.