Docs still struggling with Meaningful Use attestation

Physicians continue to be confused by the Meaningful Use incentive program and are having trouble with successful attestation, according to a webinar this week hosted by Physicians Practice. In the publication's recent physician survey, which will be publicly available in July, only slightly more than half of doctors who attested (52 percent) earned the incentive payment, and only one-third of those who failed said they'd try again. Fifteen percent who failed to successfully attest don't know if they'll bother trying again.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is trying to make the process easier, health specialist Robert Anthony, with CMS' Office of e-Health Standards and Services, said on the webinar. In addition to existing resources on its website to help eligible professionals register and attest for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, the agency also is about to release new specification sheets for each objective in the incentive program, which will link to an applicable frequently asked questions, as well as certifications/standards from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT that relate to the objective. 

CMS also recently posted updated user guides in the registration and attestation module of its incentive program website.  

"This will give you a wealth of knowledge to meet the objectives," Anthony said.

He suggested that eligible professionals resister in advance before trying to attest, since sometimes CMS' different computer systems--such as the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System--uncover inconsistencies.

"Sort those out before attesting so your payment is not delayed," Anthony recommended.

CMS continues to try to increase the number of physicians registering and successfully attesting to Meaningful Use. In addition to the information on its website, it is working to educate physicians by providing information in blogs and physician-oriented publications, such as this guide released last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

To learn more:
- here's the archive of the webinar
- check out CMS' website on the incentive programs
- read last week's CMS guide