January 6, 2012
In a perfect world, healthcare providers would reach to the bookshelf and pull out a copy of “Attestation Made Easy”. It would guide providers through the ins and outs of attesting to Meaningful Use (MU) of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, and would return to practicing medicine.
Unfortunately there is no such book. But attestation can be made easy by understanding the fundamentals of EHR and seeking the appropriate providers to implement it.
In 2009, congress passed the Health Information Technology Economic and Community Health (HITECH) Act, establishing guidelines for medical practices and hospitals for adopting and utilizing electronic health records by the end of 2015. To ensure that providers and hospitals weren’t just installing EHRs but using them in a way that actually improved patient outcomes, HITECH established the criteria for Meaningful Use (MU) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was tasked with validating MU.
Attestation is simply verifying to the CMS that MU has been met. However, proving MU can be difficult. Medicare providers must meet 15 core objects and five additional objectives and need to do so for 90-continuous days. The 15 core objectives include items like e-prescribing, medical history, drug allergies and other identifiable markers. Providers must also prove achievement of five of ten “menu” objectives.
After the necessary criteria are met, the provider can attest to MU by registering with CMS and providing the necessary data. By attesting in 2011, physicians began to see payout from the MU incentive programs. In fact providers are eligible for up to $18,000 if attesting in either 2011 or 2012. According to reports, providers received their payments within just 45 days.
AttestEasy TM will assist users completing the CMS registration and providing timely monitoring and guidance of the practices usage, flagging potential errors and measuring MU. In addition the service provides usage analysis, which assists in the attestation process.
With help from companies like DrFirst, the task of attestation does not have to be a headache, however the clock is ticking. In order to receive maximum incentives, providers need to begin the process of proving MU so attestation by the 2012 deadline is a reality.