• Reporting on "Meaningful Use" of Electronic Health Record Technology, CMS Wants Your Input
  • February 2, 2010 | Authors: Steven "Steve" D. Gravely; Erin S. Whaley
  • Law Firm: Troutman Sanders LLP - Richmond Office
  • By now, you have probably heard about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding “meaningful use.”  If you have not, the NPRM sets forth the objectives and measures that eligible professionals and hospitals must meet to receive Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments for demonstrating “meaningful use” of electronic health record (EHR) technology.  The NPRM also sets forth mechanisms for eligible professionals and hospitals to report their compliance to CMS.

    Ultimately, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will require eligible professionals and hospitals to submit their compliance with these measures electronically.  CMS does not, however, anticipate that it will have the capability to receive such information electronically until payment year 2012.  For the 2011 payment year, CMS will require eligible professionals and hospitals to submit an “attestation” of compliance. 

    The attestation will require the eligible professional or hospital to attest to (i) having used certified EHR technology during the applicable reporting period; (ii) submitting accurate information to CMS; and (iii) meeting all of the applicable objectives and measures for meaningful use.  Many of the measures are based on percentages (e.g. provide a summary of care record for at least 80% of transitions of care and referrals).  As a result, in addition to attesting that the eligible professional or hospital met all of the applicable objectives and measures, the professional or hospital will have to submit supporting evidence in the form of the numerators, denominators, and exclusions used to calculate compliance with each applicable measure.  Importantly, these calculations must encompass all of an eligible professional's or hospital’s patients, not just its Medicare and Medicaid patients.

    For 2012, the NPRM proposes three methods for the electronic submission of clinical quality measures and other objectives and measures required for demonstrating “meaningful use” of EHR technology:

    • The creation of a CMS-designated portal in which eligible providers log-in and submit information through an upload process (this is the primary method proposed by CMS).
    • The submission of information through a Health Information Exchange (HIE)/Health Information Organization (HIO), which would require (i) eligible providers to be a part of such an HIE/HIO network and (ii) HHS’ ability to collect data through the HIE/HIO.
    • The submission of information through registries, which are dependent upon the development of the necessary capacity and infrastructure to do so, using certified EHRs.

    CMS is actively seeking comments from eligible providers regarding these methods including provider preferences and concerns about the three alternatives.  Providers should also be evaluating how they feel about the actual measures that will be used to demonstrate “meaningful use” of EHR technology.   We encourage you to determine how your organization will comply with the requirements and submit your comments and concerns to CMS during the NPRM’s public comment period, which lasts through March 15, 2010.