Meaningful Use Overview
The overarching goal of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is not the mere adoption of new technology but the use of electronic health records (EHR) to systematically improve healthcare access, delivery, and quality. The HITECH Act and its associated regulations describe the application of EHR technology toward that end as "meaningful use."
Being a meaningful user indicates successful achievement of specific procedural and clinical benchmarks using certified EHR technology. Providers will attain meaningful use by progressing through three stages during their years of participation in the EHR Incentive Program and attesting to those achievements. Stage 1 criteria focused on capturing information electronically in a structured format, implementing clinical decision support tools, engaging patients in their healthcare, and reporting public health and quality measures. Stage 1 meaningful use has been effectively retired by CMS starting December 15, 2015. Modified Stages 2 and 3 have a greater focus on advanced clinical processes, health information exchange, and improvements in quality of care and patient access. In addition to the EHR Incentive Program, other aspects of the HITECH Act such as provisions for health information exchanges are designed to support the meaningful use of electronic health information.
Eligible providers can earn incentive payments by attesting to meaningful use measures using the Provider Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) portal. For Modified Stage 2 in 2017, providers must attest to objectives and measures using EHR technology certified to the 2014 Edition. If it is available, providers may also attest using EHR technology certified to the 2015 Edition, or a combination of the two.
Eligible providers who have previously attested to adopting, implementing, or upgrading (AIU) certified EHR technology or previously attested to MU can work toward achieving Meaningful Use for up to six years through 2021. Below are resources and information to facilitate successful attestation.
2015-2017 Final Rule Provisions
CMS released both the 2015 through 2017 Modified Stage 2 measures and the Meaningful Use Stage 3 measures on October 16, 2015. The CMS 2015 meaningful use rule changed the structure of meaningful use for 2015 through 2017. All providers are required to attest to a single set of objectives and measures. There are 10 required Modified Stage 2 objectives.
Payment Adjustments & Hardship Information
Eligible professionals may be exempt from MEDICARE payment adjustments if they can show that demonstrating meaningful use would result in a significant hardship. To be considered for an exception, an eligible professional must complete a Hardship Exception application along with proof of the hardship. If approved, the hardship exception is valid for 1 payment year only. A new application must be submitted if the hardship continues for the following payment year. In no case may a provider be granted an exception for more than 5 years. For more information visit the CMS EHR Payment Adjustments & Hardship Information webpage.
Important Meaningful Use Information:
Tennessee is now accepting 2017 Modified Stage 2 attestations beginning April 3, 2017 for all first time meaningful use attesters. All returning meaningful use participants will not be able to submit a program year 2017 attestation prior to January 1, 2018. You can find the required objectives and measures for Modified Stage 2 here.
EPs can voluntarily report Stage 3 measures for Program Year 2017. All EPs attesting to meaningful use for Program Year 2018 must report Stage 3 objectives and measures. To report Stage 3 measures, you must have 2015 Edition CEHRT. You can access Stage 3 measures here.