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Contributing Writer · Oct 24, 2011

Meaningful Use Commonly Asked Questions

You’ve adopted Practice Fusion, you are pursing state or federal EHR Incentives this year and you need some guidance? We are here to help. We’ve heard a number of questions in the past few months and have worked to distill lessons from those most commonly asked.

This is a great place to start when you have a Meaningful Use of EHR question. Our support and account management staff is, of course, available if you still have questions after reading through this useful resource.

1. How do I register for the EHR Incentive Program?
You can register for the CMS EHR Incentive Program online by clicking here. We suggest you register as soon as possible. You must register before you attest to Meaningful Use or to adoption of a certified EHR. You need the following to register: National Provider Identifier (NPI), National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) User ID and Password (the same information that is used to log-in to PECOS) and Practice Fusion’s CMS EHR Certification Number: 30000004H0RCEA0.

2. How do I confirm my CMS registration?
The last page of the registration process is a confirmation page and includes your confirmation number. You can print this page for future reference. If you didn’t initially print the confirmation page, re-enter the CMS registration website and print the “successful registration” page.

3. How do I choose my attestation period start date? When can I attest for Meaningful Use?
You can choose any attestation period start date after September 12th, 2011 and before October 4th, 2011 to qualify for the 2011 Medicare EHR incentives. You can select your start date in the Meaningful Use EHR Dashboard. It automatically calculates the numbers that you will submit to CMS. Keep in mind that your 90-day reporting period must be contained within a single calendar year. You can attest to CMS after the conclusion of your 90-day reporting period. You can submit your attestation to the CMS website.

4. How do I attest to CMS?
Medicare providers attest to Meaningful Use using the CMS Registration and Attestation System at the end of the EHR Reporting Period. You will populate each Meaningful Use EHR numerators and denominators, indicate whether you qualify for exclusions to specific objectives and legally attest that you have successfully demonstrated Meaningful Use. The Practice Fusion Meaningful Use Dashboard provides all of the information necessary to complete your attestation. You will qualify for a Medicare incentive payment upon completing a successful online submission through the attestation system.

For the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, you will follow a similar process using your state attestation system.

5. What are the Meaningful Use Criteria?
Download a list of Meaningful Use criteria here.

Meaningful Use of EHR requires you to utilize a certified EHR technology and chart patient data consistently in a structured manner. The requirements include both a core set and a menu set of objectives for eligible professionals. To qualify for a stage 1 Meaningful Use incentive payment, you must fulfill 15 core and 5 out of 10 menu criteria. This must be done over the course of 90 days during your first year of participation in the program and for a full year thereafter.

6. What patients are counted for Meaningful Use?
All patients you see during your 90-day reporting period that have a signed SOAP note are counted for nearly all Meaningful Use EHR objectives. You must fulfill Meaningful Use criteria regardless of their insurance. The Meaningful Use Dashboard automatically calculates your adherence for all patient encounters with a signed SOAP note. Patient encounters that do not include an office visit will not be counted towards Meaningful Use of EHR. There is no minimum patient quantity requirement that you must achieve during the 90-day period.

7. How do I fulfill the Clinical Quality Measure (CQM) criteria?
Clinical Quality Measures (CQM’s) are designed to indicate quality of clinical care. Meaningful Use requires you to report six CQMs. It does not include any thresholds that you must surpass for payment. You must report on three required core measures (substituting for alternate core measures if necessary) and 3 menus set measures. We offer all core and alternative core criteria as well as three menu criteria for diabetes care. You will only need to run the CQM report once during the 90-day period and attest to the results. You will see the CQM criteria relevant to a patient in the “Finalization” tab of the EHR. Simply, mark the measures that have been satisfied for the patient.

8. I may not be able to complete certain criteria. Do I qualify for exclusions on Meaningful Use Criteria?
There are exclusions for several Meaningful Use criteria. For example, a provider who prescribes fewer than 100 prescriptions during her 90-day period qualifies for an e-prescribing exclusion. You can review all exclusions by clicking here . We cannot confirm whether you are eligible for an exclusion, but can guide you. You must make this decision in consultation with CMS, if necessary.

9. How do I enroll my patient in the PHR if they do not have an email address?
We understand that some of your patients may not have an email address and therefore cannot be directly enrolled in the personal health record (PHR). In this case, we recommend you ask the patient for his or her caregiver’s email address and, with the patient’s permission, use this address for enrollment. If this is not possible, your admin staff can quickly and easily sign the patient up for a free email address.

If you are unable to enroll a caregiver in the PHR or create a new email address for the patient, you will need to print a Clinical Summary for the patient and track this yourself.

10. Can I start Meaningful Use in 2012 and receive the full stimulus incentive?
Yes, you can start the EHR Incentive Program in 2012 and earn the full stimulus incentive.