CMS clarifies Meaningful Use attestation requirements for hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance clarifying the attestation requirements for hospitals participating in the electronic health record Medicare incentive program. According to the guidance, released Oct. 17, an eligible hospital is only attesting that what was put in the attestation module is "identical" as what was generated by the hospital's certified EHR system.

However, a hospital is not required to provide additional information to satisfy the requirement for submitting clinical quality measures (CQM) information. CMS recommends in the guidance that if a hospital is concerned about the accuracy of the output of its EHR system, it can still attest but should work with its vendor or the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to improve the EHR's accuracy.

Hospital leaders had expressed concerned about the accuracy of the CQM data generated by EHRs, and had asked CMS for clarification, according to the American Hospital Association.   

CMS also recommended that hospitals print or save an electronic copy of its CQM report used for attesting so that they can show their numbers if audited to validate accurate attestation and submission of CQMs. CMS previously has stated that all providers attesting to receive an incentive payment under the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program may be subject to an audit. 

In addition, the guidance reminded hospitals that to successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use, attest, and receive a payment, they must agree, among other things, that the information is accurate and complete, includes information on all patients to whom the measure applies, and for CQMs was generated by a certified EHR system. 

To learn more:
- read the guidance (.pdf)
- check out this Health Data Management article
- read this AHA News Now brief

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