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The final conditions that hospitals and other healthcare providers must satisfy in order to receive incentives under Stage 2 of the federal EHR incentive program were issued on 23rd August. As per a final rule (PDF) issued by the Office of the National Co-ordinator for Health Information Technology and the CMS, the meaningful use requirements that have to be satisfied in order to get the incentive payments set apart for the Medicaid and Medicare providers that adopt qualifying EHRs would go into effect in the beginning of 2014. The earlier planned deadline was 2013. The rule provides a brief idea of the certification criteria that have to be met in order for the EHR makers to satisfy the program’s standards.

Highlights of the New Rule

  • Two new core goals have been added to the Stage 2 reporting requirements for hospitals and physicians. The first prerequisite (applicable to physicians) is to utilize secure electronic messaging to share pertinent health information with patients. The second prerequisite (applicable to hospitals) is to automatically manage drugs from order to administration utilizing “assistive technologies in conjunction with an electronic medication administration record (eMAR).”
  • The requirement pertaining to the submission of summaries of care (specifically “transitions of care and referrals”) has been lowered from 65 percent to just 50 percent.
  • The rule did away with the vendor and organizational limitations in the prerequisite concerning the electronic submission of a summary of care for over 10 percent of transitions of care and referrals to some other provider with no vendor or organizational affiliations.
  • “Recording clinical notes” has been added as a program menu objective for both hospitals and physicians. “Outpatient lab reporting” has been added as a menu objective for hospitals.
  • It alters the definition of “hospital-based” physicians to develop an application procedure for physicians to show that they alone sponsor their EHR systems and are entitled to receive the incentive amounts directly.

In a news release, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the changes they were announcing that day would pave the way for more co-ordinated patient care, greater patient involvement in their own care and an end to duplicate tests and screenings.

Outsource for Assistance with EHR and Other Revenue Cycle Processes

To ensure that you adhere to meaningful use of EHR and are able to consistently carry out your medical billing and coding processes in a timely and cost-effective manner, outsourcing would be a good idea.