Participants in the August 4 Webinar submitted a wide range of questions, answers for which will be published soon on the AmericanEHR website. Selected preliminary questions and answers are published below:
Q: Does the program start 2010 or 2011? If I install and correctly use EHR now do I get first reimbursement payment any earlier than if I start using it Jan 2011, for example? Or Oct. 2011?
A: The incentive program does not officially start until 2011. However, it can take a substantial amount of time to select implement and then become a meaningful user of an EHR system. It generally takes practices at least 3 months to return to normal productivity after “go live” (when you start using your EHR for patient care) and to start to attempt the tasks required for meaningful use. Additionally most EHR vendors already have long waiting lists on when they can actually begin the installation of your EHR system; some are scheduling installations over 6 months out.
Q: When can you apply for Medicaid incentive, if you have already implemented an EHR?
A: You should be able to register your intention to participate in the program starting in January 2011 and then be able to submit your attestation starting in April 2011. However before you submit your attestation you must be using an EHR system that has received a certification for meaningful use by an ONC-ATCB. Currently no EHR products have received this certification. You will also need to be collecting all the data required to meet the meaningful use requirements for at least 90 days before you submit your attestation to CMS. That being said you are ahead of the curve you will just need to update your system when and if your vendor has tweaked their system to meet meaningful certification requirements.
Q: Where can we find DETAILED, EXPLICIT definitions of the meaningful use tasks, in a concise display? The HIT.hhs.gov site does not have such a display readily available. There lots of generalities, e.g. reference to the 25 tasks, but no explicit list.
A: You can find a list on the AmericanEHR blog and there is a very good article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr David Blumenthal, that is free to everyone and which includes a very good table outline of the requirements. You can find the list of the clinical quality measures to pick from (you will need to a total of six to report on list) starting on the 32nd slide of this presentation. Note that a denominator of 0 can be used if you are a specialist and to not have any data on the measure in your system.