Meaningful Use

What is “Meaningful Use”?

Simply put, “meaningful use” means providers need to show they are using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity.

The American Recovery And Reinvestment of 2009 specifies 3 main components of Meaningful Use:

  • The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner.
  • The electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care.
  • The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

What are the Final Updates for Meaningful Use in 2015?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have  finalized the rulings to Meaningful Use in the 2015- 2017 reporting time frame.

The rule changes the program by:

  • Streamlining reporting by removing redundant, duplicative, and topped-out measures.
  • Modifying patient action measures in Stage 2 objectives related to patient engagement.
  • Aligning the EHR reporting period for eligible hospitals and CAHs with the full calendar year.
  • Changing the EHR reporting period in 2015 to a 90-day period to accommodate modifications.

For More Information
The new rule may be viewed online. A fact sheet about the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 and Beyond is also available.

Attestation worksheets for 2015 Modified Stage 2 have been created for both Eligible Providers and Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals.

When will Stage 3 begin?

The CMS Stage 3 Meaningful Use rule allows providers the option to start Stage 3 of Meaningful Use in either 2017 for 2018 (required in 2018). Highlights of the rule include:

  • Simplifying Meaningful Use objectives and measures that would fit their own population or practice.
  • Reducing the overall number of objectives to 8.
  • Removing measures that are redundant or already received widespread adoption.
  • Aligning clinical quality measures with other CMS programs.

What are “Clinical Quality Measures”?

Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs must report CQM’s in order to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs and avoid downward payment adjustments under Medicare. CMS intends to further support alignment between the EHR incentive programs and other CMS quality reporting programs, and encourage CQM data submission through electronic submission for Medicare participants in 2017, and to require electronic submission of CQM’s, where feasible, beginning in 2018 for Medicare providers demonstrating meaningful use.

The additional support and funding from CMS and the RECNH has helped justify and expedite our IT progress, while leveraging EHR technology has allowed us to do things we never would have been able to do in a paper world. As a result, we are able to know our patients better and make knowledgeable, quicker clinical decisions that ultimately help lead to safer and better quality care.

David Briden
Chief Information Officer
Exeter Health Resources

In my tiny family practice, the adoption of the EHR and attesting to meaningful use took six months start to finish. With the REC’s assistance, we went through it pretty effortlessly.

Dr. Robin Hallquist
Twin Mountain, NH

The achievement to successfully reach Stage 1 Meaningful Use was the result of a total commitment by every department at Cottage, and the pivotal assistance of the Regional Extension Center of NH.

Director of Management Information
Cottage Hospital

Did You Know?

There is no specific requirement to connect to a HIE to achieve Stage 1 Meaningful Use. In future years, the need for external electronic connections to communicate with providers and patients will become a required component of meaningful use.

In New Hampshire, 1,000 priority primary care providers have been targeted for REC services. RECNH is here to support them and the state’s 13 qualifying critical access hospitals.

To achieve meaningful use, providers need to show they’re using certified EHR technology to improve healthcare quality and efficiency in significant ways that can be measured.

RECNH was launched by the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) in 2010 with the support of a $6.9 million federal award. RECNH combines MAeHC’s extensive experience with hands-on New Hampshire experience.

For providers that qualify as a priority primary care provider, there is no fee associated with RECNH services. Other providers are eligible for low cost, fee-for-service consulting.

RECNH supports a variety of statewide initiatives. We coordinate and collaborate with the Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, and the NH State Public Health reporting initiatives. We are an active member of the New Hampshire Health Information Organization (NHHIO) and support the development of safe and secure health information exchange.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services established meaningful use criteria to encourage widespread adoption of EHRs with the goal of improving healthcare quality and efficiency.

Starting in 2015, Medicare-eligible professionals who do not successfully demonstrate meaningful use will have a payment adjustment to their Medicare reimbursement.

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