CMS Oncology Care Model requires Meaningful Use participation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is continuing to use its payment programs to reward providers who embrace electronic health records and the Meaningful Use program, this time by including attestation as a requirement to participating in the agency's new Oncology Care Model.

The new model, announced Feb. 12 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, is the latest initiative to reform the Medicare program away from traditional fee-for-service payments in favor of value based ones. Physicians participating in the new model will receive two forms of payment; a monthly $160 per beneficiary payment, as well as a performance-based payment for episodes of chemotherapy care. The model includes financial accountability, coordinated care and shared decision making with patients.

But what's also vital to participation, yet buried in the documents, is that physicians not only must use an Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT-certified EHR, they also must be progressively part of the Meaningful Use program.

"Participating practices must demonstrate an increasing commitment to using electronic health records throughout the performance years," the Request for Application (RFA) states. "Prior to the start of the first performance year, participating practices are required to demonstrate their intent to meaningfully use EHR technology certified under ONC's HIT Certification Program. By the end of the first performance year, eligible professionals in the practice must attest to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, with the intention of attesting to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use by the end of the third performance year."

The RFA also says that the model's requirements related to Meaningful Use "may be updated to align with future CMS rulemaking."

The model is slated to start spring 2016. Letters of intent from physicians are due April 23, and applications are due June 18.

The model's release coincides with more reports of physician dissatisfaction with EHRs and the Meaningful Use program. CMS' latest report, issued the same week as the Oncology Care Model, revealed that providers will lose millions of dollars for not meeting Meaningful Use, prompting the American Medical Association to call the program "still broken."

To learn more:
- read about the model