Healthcare News & Insights

CMS answers 5 new meaningful use questions

As providers and other healthcare organizations begin to digest the recently proposed Stage 2 requirements for meaningful use of EHRs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has posted answers to some common questions. 

The CMS has added five new items to its list of frequently asked questions about the federal government’s EHR incentive programs.

Here’s a summary of the new questions and answers:

1. For objectives that require a provider to test the transfer of data (such as “capability to exchange key clinical information” and testing the submission of data to public health agencies) can we conduct the test from a test environment or test domain?

Yes, the provider can perform the test in a test environment or test domain using simulated data about a fictional “patient.” However, the information must be sent to an actual care provider or public health agency.

2. For objectives that require a provider to test the transfer of data, if an organization uses the same EHR system across several different locations, can a single test meet the requirements?

No — a different test must be performed for each location, even if all EHR systems are connected to the same server. The purpose of the test is to make sure the data can be sent from where it was created.

3. For the requirement that doctors or hospitals “provide a summary of care record for each transition of care or referral,” should transitions of care between doctors within the same practice who share EHR systems be included?

No, those transitions should not be included in either the numerator or denominator when calculating whether the provider has met the objective. CMS defines a transition of care as moving a patient “from one setting of care to another,” so movement within the same practice doesn’t count. Also, doctors using the same EHR system should have access to all of the patient’s information already.

4. For the “Incorporate clinical lab-test results” menu objective, how should a provider attest if the numerator displayed their EHR system is larger than the denominator?

That may happen if the EHR does not match lab orders to results on a one-for-one basis or if the EHR records a panel that returns multiple lab results as a single order within the system. If that’s the case, enter a numerator that is equal to the denominator. However, providers should make sure they’ve kept documentation showing where those numbers came from in case they’re audited to show they’ve actually met the 40% requirement.

5. How can I change my attestation information after I have attested and/or received an incentive payment under the EHR incentive program?

Providers who want to change their attestation under the Medicare program should contact the EHR Information Center at 1-888-734-6433 (primary number) or 1-888-734-6563 (TTY number), 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Central Time) Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

Providers who have questions about changing their completed Medicaid attestation should contact their State Medicaid Agency for assistance.

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