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Stage 2 Meaningful Use and Your Practice

    • MUimageBy now many physicians and healthcare professionals have come to the realization that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) definition of "Meaningful Use" takes on an entirely different meaning in actual clinical practice. CMS' initiative began with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's HITECH provisions calling for the development of an incentive and future penalty program to encourage physicians and other "eligible" healthcare providers to adopt electronic health record (EHR) technology. Eligible providers to participate in the Meaningful Use program are those entities including physicians, hospitals, and ambulatory surgery center providers who can enroll and bill Medicare (and Medicaid) for services rendered to beneficiaries.

      The theory of meaningfully using electronic health record technology seems simple enough and a great idea if you have enough financial and human capital to implement such a system. However, the task of employing a useful EHR system has been arduous for many practices. Although the Meaningful Use program has been in existence since 2011, practices continue to have questions regarding their participation in the incentive program and, most recently, the penalization for non-use of an electronic health record system, beginning in 2015.

      Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently extended the Stage 2 Meaningful Use attestation deadline through 2016 and delayed Stage 3 implementation to 2017, there are several key aspects of Stage 2 that should be considered now.

       

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