QUESTION: What is certified EHR?
ANSWER: In short, “certified EHR” is electronic health record technology that has been officially certified by one of the Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ATCBs) designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009 created Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate Meaningful Use of certified EHR technology.
QUESTION: I’ve already purchased EMR-Elite (or another add-on Electronic Medical Record module from Carestream Dental) to work with my CS WinOMS software. Is certified EHR the same as my EMR?
ANSWER: No. While there are some similarities, these programs have different sets of features. Certified EHR software meets the criteria specified by ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for HHS) that enables software to store, report and share specific health-related information about a patient, their medical history and their care. Your existing EMR module and its functionality provide you with a means to be more paperless and reduce your dependence on a paper-based chart. Only a certified EHR system will enable you to receive the available incentives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
QUESTION: How do I qualify for certified EHR incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs?
ANSWER: In order to receive incentive payments, a health care provider or organization MUST submit claims to Medicare or Medicaid and demonstrate “Meaningful Use” of certified EHR technology. Simply put, “Meaningful Use” means providers need to show they're using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity. To receive Medicaid incentive payments, a provider must meet patient volume thresholds (as measured by a methodology selected by the state). The minimum Medicaid patient volume threshold is 30%; however, different minimum thresholds apply to certain providers, including eligible professionals practicing at Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Centers. Visit this site for more information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, including an overview, important dates and other helpful resources.
QUESTION: How can I get reimbursed for implementing certified EHR?
ANSWER: Depending on whether you participate in the Medicaid or Medicare EHR Incentive Program, the process is somewhat different. Generally, however, you must:
- Register for the appropriate program,
- Meet the Meaningful Use criteria using certified EHR technology, and
- Successfully attest, using CMS' Web-based system, that you have met Meaningful Use criteria using certified EHR technology.
Incentive payments for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will be made approximately four to eight weeks after an eligible professional, eligible hospital or critical access hospital meets the program requirements and successfully attests they have demonstrated Meaningful Use of certified EHR technology.
Medicaid incentives are paid by the states. States are required to issue incentive payments within 45 days of providers successfully attesting to having adopted, implemented or upgraded certified EHR technology during their first year of participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Launch date for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program varies by state, so the earliest date attestation can begin also varies by state.