How to Attest for the Meaningful Use Incentives

8 Steps to get Ready for Meaningful Use Attestation

Most of the oncology practice administrators we speak with are planning to attest for the Meaningful Use incentives in 2012. While it may seem like there’s plenty of time between now and then, there are specific steps that will impact how soon you should get started on implementing and adopting your solution. Below are the 8 steps in the Meaningful Use attestation process, and a timeframe for how long each step could take.

  1. Evaluate and select a certified EHR and patient portal. (1-2 months)
  2. Implement a certified EHR or upgrade your current EHR to the certified version. (1-2 months)
  3. Implement a certified patient portal. (1 month, can be done simultaneously with EHR implementation)
  4. Integrate your certified EHR and patient portal with your practice management and lab systems. (1-2 months)
  5. Begin using the new system, run weekly reports to achieve baseline for the 20 Meaningful Use measures. (1-3 months)
  6. Once you reach baseline, you can start the attestation process, which takes 90 consecutive days. (3 months)
  7. Answer attestation questions on CMS website.
  8. Receive your federal incentive check.

To qualify for the 2012 incentives, you must begin the attestation period no later than October 1, 2012. Working backwards from that date, if you haven’t yet selected a certified EHR or patient portal you should start the evaluation process in January/February. If you already have an EHR, you should upgrade to the certified version in March to have enough time to integrate with internal systems, reach baseline, and start the attestation period. However, the sooner you begin the process the more cushion you’ll give yourself to absorb any unforeseen issues that may arise during the process.

If you haven’t yet selected a certified EHR or patient portal, you should start the evaluation process in January/February 2012, and start implementation by March 2012.

Meaningful Use Attestation Process

Below are the steps in the Meaningful Use attestation process. Step 1 you can do now, the others won’t begin until you’ve integrated and have started using your certified EHR and patient portal.

  1. Register on CMS website. You can do this now before you have a certified EHR and patient portal if your state has launched their incentive program. Check your state’s status here.
  2. Decide which of the menu set measures you will attest for. There are 15 core set measures, and 10 menu set measures. You must attest for all 15 in the core set, and select 5 of the 10 from the menu set. Here’s a list of all 25 Meaningful Use objectives and the specific measures you must meet for Stage 1.
  3. Once you have all your technology systems in place, run reports from your systems to show how you are doing for each of the Meaningful Use measures.
  4. Once you reach baseline for each Meaningful Use measure, start attesting. Track results over a 90-day consecutive period.
  5. Run a report from your technology showing that you passed all the Meaningful Use measures over the 90-day period. You do not need to submit this report, but need it in case you are audited.
  6. Enter the results for 20 Meaningful Use measures on the CMS website. Here are some screenshots with examples of questions.
  7. Celebrate your accomplishment!

HITECH incentives peak in 2012, and the sooner you select and start to implement your Meaningful Use technology solutions the more likely you’ll meet the October 1 attestation deadline.

Have you gone through the attestation process? We’d love to hear about your experience. Please leave a note in comments below.
How long was your process from when you started evaluating technology solutions to when you finished the 90-day attestation period?
How long did it take for your practice to reach baseline once you began using the technology and before you began the 90-day attestation period?

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