There are some changes coming in 2014 for all those meaningful users still in stage one. While some of these changes are positive, there are a few that may come as a surprise-especially if a practice attested for the first time in 2013, and plan to do the second year of stage one in 2014. Here are just a few things to be aware of:
- You can no longer count an exclusion toward the minimum 5 menu objectives. In other words-there are 10 to choose from and a provider must be able to attest to 5 of those with no exclusions.
- Seeing patients ages 3 and over? You have to record blood pressure, height and weight on more than 50% of patients. An EP can exclude his or herself, though if there is no relevance to the scope of practice.
- The capability to exchange key clinical information among providers of care and patient authorized entities electronically is no longer required starting in 2013.
- Providing patients with timely access to their health information within 4 business days has been changed in 2014 to being able to provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within 4 business days of the information being available to the EP. This will have to be reported for more than 50% of all unique patients.
- LOTS of changes with Clinical Quality Measures (CQM). Prior to 2014, providers have 44 measures to choose from in which they had to report 6 total (3 core and 3 alternate). Starting in 2014 and beyond a provider must report 9 measures (out of a total of 64). Selected CQM’s must cover at least 3 of the National Quality Strategy domains. For more information please refer to www.cms.gov/EHRincentiveprograms.
Providers who were early demonstrators of meaningful use in 2011 will meet three consecutive years of meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before advancing to the Stage 2 criteria in 2014. All other providers would meet two years of meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before advancing to the Stage 2 criteria in the third year. This is regardless of the year you started to participate.
Looking forward to stage 2 of meaningful use? Although you can’t begin to collect data for stage 2 meaningful use until 2014, there are a couple of things to have in place ideally before 2014.
The first thing is to establish a patient portal and become familiar with the workings of the portal. Work out any changes to your workflow in order to become successful in establishing protocols for staff and for patients. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for marketing.
Another item for action would be to get with your lab (if you haven’t already done so), and make sure your EHR has a way to incorporate lab results as structured data. This menu objective for stage 1 becomes a core objective for stage 2. Creating this “bridge”, can take some time to do so the sooner the better. Some labs are more backlogged than others and this could very well take up to 6 months to complete.