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athenahealth Guarantee Takes Aim at Stage 3 Meaningful Use

athenahealth is promising to offset downward payment adjustments accrued as a result of Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements.

athenahealth MIPS

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- athenahealth announced plans midweek to expand its Guarantee Program to include a Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements for eligible hospitals.

This most recent guarantee follows similar federal incentive support programs such as one for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) that emerged last year.

"Every hospital or health system — no matter the size— wants a partner who can tackle the complex work of getting reimbursed," said athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush. "As government-mandated programs reinvent themselves year after year, we've taken on the reporting administration so our clients can remain focused.”

Mounting administrative burden brought on by frequently changing federal reporting requirements can put a strain on practices looking to avoid potential payment penalties. athenahealth’s guarantee programs aim to shoulder some of that burden and allow providers to keep their attention on delivering quality patient care.

Other athenahealth programs designed to support healthcare organizations in federal quality reporting include a Meaningful Use guarantee for ambulatory care organizations that enabled 97.6 percent of providers to successfully attest in 2016. Additionally, athenahealth has offered a Value Modifier (VM) program allowing for 93.6 percent of providers to avoid VM 2017 payment penalties.

“By leveraging our national network, our payer and quality measure rules engine, and years of expertise around cracking the code of the complicated, we aim to free providers and care staff to spend more time delivering care,” he added.

According to its 2016 fiscal data, athenahealth users gained an average of over 106 percent of cash flow above baseline and cut days in accounts receivable by up to 16 percent.

"athenahealth offers an unmatched level of support, especially as the burden to capture quality measures increases every year," said Jasper General Hospital CEO Clinton Eaves. "Meaningful Use has become simple, thanks to the transparency and ease with which the guidelines and measures are made inherent within our EHR. Not only can we track our performance and make adjustments as needed, but reporting is streamlined despite the program's complex nature."

The health IT company’s Stage 3 Meaningful Use guarantee allows hospitals using athenaOne for Hospitals & Health Systems Service aligned with athenahealth’s best practices to have access to a service fee credit to offset any downward payment adjustment to their Medicare Part A fee schedule.

Further, users will not be charged additional fees or expected to make upgrades to meet Meaningful Use requirements.

"Today's hospital market is woefully underserved," added Bush. "athena's model is uniquely suited to support community hospitals with its low up-front costs, aligned incentives, and no maintenance costs. It's an attractive value proposition that separates our results-oriented platform model from that of traditional software."

athenaClinicals for hospitals and health systems will also gain authorization as certified EHR technology (CEHRT) in the ONC Health IT Certification program for Stage 3 Meaningful Use before the 2018 reporting period.

Last summer, athenahealth offered providers a MIPS Guarantee to protect clinicians from downward payment adjustments under the Quality Payment Program.

“At a time when nearly all providers across the U.S. are expected to keep up with ever-changing reimbursement rules and an estimated 45 percent of those who bill Medicare Part B are facing payment cuts under the MIPS program, we’re looking to lift the burden,” said Bush in a public statement. “The complexity of government reimbursement is just too onerous; and, it’s not something providers or practice staff should have to master.”

The vendor’s MIPS Guarantee entails services featuring workflows and native intelligence designed to manage quality, aggregate data, and handle MIPS reporting for providers to relieve administrative burden associated with the federal incentive program. 



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