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Important information about 2016 and 2017 Medi-Cal EHR incentive program attestations, including delays for groups

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has extended the attestation deadline for the Medi-Cal electronic health record (EHR) incentive program reporting for the 2016 program year. The deadline has been pushed to May 23, 2017. After that date, DHCS will only accept 2017 attestations. Eligible providers should be aware that 2016 is the last year that they can sign up for the program. Providers who have not received at least one incentive payment by the end of the 2016 reporting year won’t be able to receive any ...

DHCS extends reporting deadline for 2016 Medi-Cal meaningful use

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has announced that it will extend the deadline for Medi-Cal meaningful use reporting for the 2016 program year. The deadline has been pushed back one month to May 2, 2017. After that date, DHCS will only accept 2017 attestations. The Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program provides funding to Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) providers and hospitals to adopt, implement, upgrade and make meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Eligible providers should be aware that 2016 is the last year that eligible ...

2017 Medicare EHR payment adjustment reconsideration forms due February 28

Eligible physicians who have been identified as being subject to Medicare electronic health record (EHR) payment penalties in 2017 (based on the 2015 reporting period), and believe that determination to be in error, have until February 28, 2017, to submit a reconsideration form to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The reconsideration form can be downloaded from the CMS website. For reconsideration instructions, click here. If you have questions about the reconsideration process, please email pareconsideration@provider-resources.com. For more information on payment adjustments and hardship applications, or for information ...

Cloud computing providers need to sign business associate agreements, says OCR

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently released updated guidance on the use of cloud computing for the storage or transmission of electronic personal health information (ePHI). The new guidance clarifies that cloud service providers are considered "business associates" under HIPAA, even if the provider only stores encrypted data and doesn't have a decryption key to view the data. This means that if a covered entity (or business associate) uses a cloud service provider to maintain ePHI without entering into a business associate ...

Reminder: 2016 is last year to start Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program

The Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program provides funding to Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) providers and hospitals to adopt, implement, upgrade and make meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Eligible providers should be aware that 2016 is the last year that eligible providers can sign up for the program. Since the program began in 2011, more than 20,000 Medi-Cal professionals have qualified, receiving more than $500 million in incentive payments. Professionals can individually receive up to $63,750 in incentive payments over six years, with the largest payment of $21,250 in ...

Deadline to file for meaningful use hardship exemption is March 15

In mid-December, Congress adopted a last-minute bill that gives CMS the authority to grant a blanket exemption for all eligible physicians who apply for the exemption from the 2015 meaningful use penalties. This action prevents the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing Medicare payment penalties for physicians who fail to demonstrate meaningful use of a certified electronic health record (EHR) system in 2015. New rules released last year state that eligible professionals must attest that they met the requirements for stage 2 meaningful use for a period ...

Physicians urged to preemptively file for meaningful use hardship exemptions

Because of a delay in the publication of regulations governing the Medicare meaningful use program, physicians are being urged to preemptively file for a 2015 hardship exemption to avoid penalties in 2016. Physicians should apply for an exemption under the “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” category, even if they are uncertain whether they will meet the program requirements this year. Doing so will not preclude physicians from receiving an incentive if they do meet meaningful use requirements, but applying can serve as a safety net in staving off a penalty. In order ...

New CMS rule changes meaningful use requirements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week published new rules for the current and final stages of the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program. In publishing the rule, CMS acknowledged the difficulties physicians have experienced with meeting meaningful use requirements. The regulations announced are intended to ease the reporting burden for providers, support interoperability and improve patient outcomes. While the modified rules for years 2015-2017 are final, the stage 3 portion of the final rules were released with the opportunity for public comment, with the expectation that CMS ...

Members of Congress urge HHS to pause meaningful use stage 3

The California Medical Association (CMA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to delay implementing stage 3 of the electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use program, as it is fraught with problems that need to be fixed before the next stage is implemented. CMA and AMA are also pushing for an automatic hardship exemption for physicians who were unable to successfully report in 2015. To that end, at AMA and CMA’s urging, Congress sent a bipartisan letter to HHS ...

AMA town hall to discuss meaningful use concerns

On  Tuesday, September 29, the American Medical Association (AMA) will hold a virtual town hall meeting to give physicians a chance to discuss concerns with poorly designed electronic health record (EHR) systems and the impact they have on patient care and government mandates. The U.S. government has spent some $25 billion on the program to promote a digital health infrastructure based on the power of EHRs to enhance patient care, improve productivity, and reduce costs. While 80 percent of physicians have adopted EHR technology, many physicians believe that the current ...