CMS: Significant variation in first MU attesters

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a new white paper providing an in-depth analysis of the first attesters in the Meaningful Use Incentive Program.

The 48-page report focuses on the early adopters--those eligible professionals and eligible hospitals that successfully attested to Meaningful Use in the Medicare Incentive program in 2011. In particular, it focuses on five areas of standards: quality, safety, efficiency and health disparity reduction; patient and family engagement; care coordination; population and public health improvement; and privacy and security. Some of the findings include:

  • Roughly 10 percent of all eligible professionals and 17 percent of eligible hospitals successfully attested
  • On average, providers exceeded thresholds, although some providers barely met them
  • Exclusion rates were used to varying degrees, depending on the measure
  • There were wide differences in deferral rates
  • There was significant geographic variation on all performance, exclusion and deferral rates

The analysts opted not to predict the attestation results in subsequent years.

"[I]t is unknown whether EPs and EHs who have yet to attest will perform at the same level as those attesting in 2011," the report's authors said. "As we update these analyses with the new 2012 attesters and the first full year of attestation for those presented in this report, we will compare performance between both groups to see if the early attesters perform differently."

CMS has paid out almost $15.9 billion in Meaningful Use incentives since the program began in 2011. Participation in the program continues to increase, with the total number of active registrations now at more than 409,000 providers. However, there are signs that some attesters could drop out of the program.

To learn more:
- read the white paper (.pdf)