What is Actually Happening with Meaningful Use?

By  Deb Anderson, CPHIMS
Business Relationship Manager, Health Technology Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt recently remarked, “The Meaningful Use program as we know it is effectively over.” Statements like this are causing a lot of confusion about 2016 Meaningful Use requirements and have prompted CMS to provide clarifying language.

The bottom line: Meaningful Use is not going away. Providers will still be measured on the meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology. Recent CMS statements about the sunset of the Meaningful Use (MU) program have created quite a buzz among providers. Here are the high-level basics to help you cut through the confusion:

  • MU remains in effect and will be based on the Modified Stage 2 rules released in October 2015.
  • MU for 2018 and beyond will be consumed into the Merit-Based Incentive Program (MIPS) along with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Base Modifier (VM or VBM) incentive programs. This alignment of programs occurred within the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, which discontinued the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and will streamline reporting and support the path to payments for value versus volume.

Health Technology Services, the REC for MT and WY, recommends that all eligible hospitals and providers prepare to report Modified Stage 2 MU in 2016. This includes immediately starting audit documentation and plans to participate in public health measures. MU reporting periods will be based on the full 2016 calendar year (366 days) for anyone not reporting MU for the first time.

Providers who received letters indicating they are subject to 2016 payment adjustments have until February 29th to submit a Reconsideration Form. Click here for information about the 2015 hardship applications for hospitals and providers (found at the bottom of the webpage) and to learn more about the CMS Payment Adjustments and Hardship Application (found at the top of the webpage).

Further information will be issued by CMS in the coming months.
In the meantime, Health Technology Services (HTS) is a valuable resource. HTS staff has helped 52 critical access hospitals and more than 1,200 providers in Wyoming and Montana successfully achieve Meaningful Use. The HTS newsletter includes payment reform updates and information about regularly provided webinars. If you have any immediate questions, please contact Deb Anderson with Health Technology Services at 307.772.1096 or Mountain-Pacific Quality Health at 800.497.8232.