Still have questions about meaningful use? So does CMS

Often, attempts to clarify complex plans--like, say, the final stage 1 rules for meaningful use of EHRs--provide more questions than answers. A recent CMS educational session for providers was one of those times.

"But while the session provided much detail around many aspects of the program, the Q&A after it resulted in a few 'we'll have to get back to you' answers from CMS representatives," according to InformationWeek.

Case in point was a question about whether a hospital could qualify for 90 days of meaningful use if the EHR in question didn't have a certification number from Day 1. CMS reportedly said it was "still trying to develop definitive FAQs on that."

Many hospitals also are unclear about what sorts of patient encounters in the emergency department count toward total inpatient volume, a key variable in calculating Medicare bonus payments. "We need to figure out what we need to say in regards to that, and will get guidance out in the next few weeks--stay tuned," a CMS representative told the questioner.

However, callers did get some definitive answers, such as that calculation of Medicaid payments will pretty much follow the same formula as Medicare, though disbursement schedules may differ. Qualification for the first year of the program--a 90-day reporting period--will be based solely on attestation and verification, while the reporting period becomes the entire year and providers must report electronically starting in Year 2.

To learn more:
- take a look at this InformationWeek story

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