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CMS Prepares Providers for 2016 Meaningful Use Attestation

The agency has issued worksheets to help eligible professionals and hospitals prepare for Stage 3 Meaningful Use attestation for 2016.

By Sara Heath

CMS has issued meaningful use attestation worksheets to help eligible professionals and eligible providers prepare for reporting, set to begin on January 3 and last through February 28, 2017.

For all participants, the reporting period for modified Stage 2 Meaningful Use is any continuous 90-day period within the calendar year.

These worksheets can serve as a guide as administrators use the agency’s Registration and Attestation system, helping them to track the various quality measures they meet this period.

According to both worksheets, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals all must use 2014 or 2015 certified EHR technology (CEHRT) for meaningful use attestation this year. Specifically, the technology must be able to capture numerator, denominator, and the resulting percentage measure for all percentage-based measures.

The eligible professional worksheet details the ten objective measures participants must report, including health data security, clinical decisions support, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), e-prescribing, summary of care, patient-specific education, medication reconciliation, patient data access, electronic messaging, and overarching public health measures.

Eligible professionals must also report to nine of 64 clinical quality measures (CQMs) that cover at least three National Quality Strategy domains.

It should be noted that 2017 marks the start of the first performance year for Advancing Care Information, a part of MACRA’s Quality Payment Program that will replace meaningful use for eligible professionals. The 2016 meaningful use reporting will be the last period for which eligible professionals will report in this program.

Under Advancing Care Information, eligible professionals (now called eligible clinicians) will attest to a set of meaningful use-like measures. However, clinical decision support and CPOE measures will be phased out. The program also reduces the number of CQMs and introduces new ones that emphasize health information exchange, interoperability, and health data security.

According to the eligible hospital and critical access hospital (CAH) worksheet, all participants must attest to nine objectives. These include health data security, clinical decision support, CPOE, e-prescribing, transition of care summary, patient-specific education, patient data access, and public health measures.

Eligible hospitals must also attest to a medication order measure stating that “60 percent of medication orders created by authorized providers of the eligible hospital's or CAH's inpatient or emergency department during the EHR reporting period are recorded using computerized provider order entry.”

CMS is offering several alternative exclusions in 2016, although according to both worksheets they may be limited compared to those offered in 2015.

“In order to provide complete and accurate information for certain measures, providers scheduled to be in an earlier stage of the programs or who did not intend to include a measure in their activities of meaningful use may claim an alternate exclusion,” the agency explained.

Throughout both the eligible professional and eligible hospital and CAH worksheets, the agency explains various alternate exclusions that different providers may claim for each individual measure.

For example, eligible professionals may claim an exclusion for measure three, the CPOE measure. This exclusion will apply to any eligible professional who writes fewer than 100 radiology orders during reporting period.

CMS has issued other resources to assist providers in both meaningful use attestation and claiming alternate exclusions, including a comprehensive fact sheet regarding alternate exclusions.

As noted above, this reporting period will be the last for eligible professionals and Stage 2 Meaningful Use as they transition to reporting to the Quality Payment Program. Additionally, after this year, eligible hospitals and CAHs will begin reporting to Stage 3 Meaningful Use.

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