My New Years’ Resolution: Earn A Meaningful Use Bonus (Part One)

Whether you have yet to start using an EHR or have already adopted an EHR and earned a bonus, you may want to seriously consider adding “I will earn a meaningful use bonus” to your list of to-do’s for 2013.

If you have not yet adopted an EHR, it’s not too late.  While the first year bonus will be less in 2013, as compared to 2012, the amount is nevertheless very attractive at $15,000 for year one followed by $12,000, $8,000, and $4,000 during 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

If you have yet to attest for a meaningful use bonus, I suspect that it may be because you’ve heard that it is too difficult to meaningfully use an EHR.  In actuality, Medicare has established a very low threshold for meaningful use that includes the following (measures apply only to patients seen during the 90 day attestation period):

  • Capture demographic data (in actuality, you’re probably already doing this since you’re electronically submitting) (more than 50% of patients seen)
  • Record basic vital signs (more than 50% of patients seen who are 2 years old or older)
    • Height
    • Weight
    • Blood pressure
    • BMI
    • Plotting growth charts for children 2-20
  • Record smoking status (more than 40% of patients seen who are 13 years old or older)
  • Maintain problem list of current and active diagnoses in structured format (e.g., ICD) (more than 80% of patients seen)
  • Electronically prescribe, including the following:
    • Update medication allergy list (more than 80% of patients seen)
    • Update active medication list (more than 80% of patients seen)
    • Transmit prescriptions electronically (more than 40% of prescriptions for non-controlled substances)
    • E-prescribe through a CPOE (e.g., through an e-prescribing system that is integrated with your EHR)  (more than 30% of patients seen)
  • Enable the following functionality within your web based EHR system:
    • Drug-drug/drug-allergy interaction checks
    • Ability to electronically exchange a clinical care document (CCD) and perform on test exchange of same
  • Ensure that you use a ONC-ATCB certified product (i.e., one with appropriate HIPAA safeguards) and make sure you’re following HIPAA’s security and privacy requirements in your practice
  • Electronically report certain clinical quality measures (this is systematic and will be handled by your software vendor)
  • On request, provide clinical summaries to patients electronically (e.g. through PHR) within three business days (more than 50% of patients seen)

Next week’s blog will address the few remaining things you’ll need to do to achieve meaningful use.  We’ll also consider a technique that some providers are employing to make achieving meaningful use even easier.