New CMS guide walks providers through Meaningful Use attestation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has created a new interactive tool to help acquaint eligible professionals and others with the requirements of the electronic health record incentive program. 

The guidance, "An Introduction to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for Eligible Professionals," was released Dec. 1, and walks readers through the program from eligibility and registration to attestation and payment. It explains the differences between the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, the Meaningful Use requirements, the steps to attestation, and the estimated time it takes to receive incentive payments. The registration and attestation chapters also have user guides, and there's even a section to practice attesting.

Reaction to the new tool has been positive, so far. Dr. Marc Resnick, a professor of human factors and information design at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., calls the guide "simple, easy to understand, clear, dynamic, and rich with information." In addition, Resnick tells FierceEMR, the resource library with links to additional resources and forms is an added benefit.

He notes that there's nothing in the guide that's especially new, but that having it all in one place is helpful, and can serve as a step by step guide for enrolling.  

"It would have been better if it came out in time for EPs to apply for 2011, but better late than never," Resnick says. "CMS may have been waiting to see where applicants had the most questions before making the guide to help keep it short. 

"If there [are] lots of questions and if this [guide] will save CMS a ton of money on customer service, then it was a good investment." 

To learn more:
- here's the guide (.pdf)