Making Use of Certified EHR Technology

Electronic Health Records

As a professional provider, you are accustomed to making constant changes and updates to your operations in order to comply with Medicare rules and guidelines. However, you may not know that since 2009, the federal government has been moving to completely overhaul the way the medical industry handles electronic patient information. Over the next five years, Medicare providers will be encouraged to transition their current health records systems to those that are certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). After this period of conversion, providers will face penalties via a percentage reduction in payments for failure to employ a certified EHR system.

Cradle Solution, Inc. is dedicated to providing you with the most current technology available and fully intends to receive its own ONC certification so that our CradleMRx software can continue to provide outstanding solutions in the years to come. Our company is also committed to keeping our clients informed about changes in statutory compliance. Electronic health records will be a cornerstone of the healthcare industry going forward, and we feel it is vital for you, as a healthcare provider, to be informed of the benefits and penalties related to implementing certified software technology.

Medicare has announced a new incentive program for eligible providers that implement certified EHR technology between 2011 and 2014. Certified EHR technology means software that has been approved for use by an ONC Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB). As an eligible professional, you must be a licensed Medicare doctor that is not hospital-based. Registration for the program will begin in spring 2011.

Under the program, you may qualify for incentive payments beginning in 2011 or 2012 and will continue receiving payments for five years. If you meet the requirements for incentive payments in 2011, you will receive your first payment that year. Each payment thereafter will be reduced and paid annually until 2015. If you are eligible to receive your first payment in 2012, or any year after, you will continue receiving phased-out payments until 2016. Medicare incentives are reduced for providers that meet electronic health record criteria between 2013 and 2014, while no incentive is granted for qualification in 2015. The payment will be equal to 75% of the providers Medicare allowable charges for Part B services rendered with a maximum permitted payment of $15,000 the first year and reducing annually to a maximum permitted payment of $2,000 the fifth year.

Beginning in 2016, providers that do not exhibit “meaningful use” of a certified EHR system will receive reduced claim payments for failure to adopt the new technology. Penalties will begin in 2015 with a 1% reduction in the Medicare fee schedule for the billed service, increase to a 2% reduction in 2016, and settle out at a 3% reduction for services rendered in 2017 and thereafter. Substantial loss in reimbursement is a potential consequence of not transitioning within the next five years.

The CradleMRx home health blog will keep you updated on when registration has opened for this incentive program and any changes that may be made to it. We encourage you to research this topic further and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about how this changeover affects the CradleMRx software and your business.

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