CMS clarifies info on EHR incentive payments, clinical quality measures

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued new and updated sections to its Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program answers section site, clarifying how to apply for and receive payments in relation to achieving Meaningful Use. Among them:

Incentive payments in 2011: Under the incentive program, payments will be made approximately four to eight weeks after eligible professionals successfully attest that they have demonstrated Meaningful Use of certified EHR technology. However, they will not receive the payments within that timeframe if they do not meet the individual threshold for allowed charges ($24,000) for covered services furnished by the end of calendar 2011.

If the provider fails to meet the threshold by the end of the year, CMS said it expects to issue an incentive payment in March 2012--allowing 60 days after the end of the 2011 calendar year for all pending claims to be processed.

Bonus payments for providers who practice in a geographic health professional shortage area (HPSA) will be made as separate lump-sum payments no later than 120 days after the end of the calendar year for which the professional was eligible for the bonus payment.

Attestation statements and clinical quality measures: The attestation process requires eligible providers and hospitals to agree that information submitted for clinical quality measures (CQMs) was generated "as output" from certified EHR technology.

This means that numerator, denominator, and exclusion information for CQMs must be reported directly from information generated by certified EHR technology

CMS, though, will not currently require eligible providers to submit additional information "beyond what is generated from certified EHR technology" to satisfy requirements for submitting CQM information. This is because, CMS noted, that quality performance results for CQMs are not now being assessed under the EHR Incentive Programs.

Allowing another user to register or attest: Another person can register or attest on behalf of an eligible provider. This user, though, must have an Identity and Access Management System (I&A) web user account (User ID/Password) and be associated to the provider's national provider identifier (NPI).

For more information:
- view the CMS website
- read Government Health IT article