Since electronic medical records (EMR) have become prevalent, there has been concern whether documentation in the patient record accurately reflects medical necessity and the services provided. When I started working in the healthcare setting, we always told providers, “Not documented, not done.” Now, when I review a chart note, the question I have to ask myself is, “There is documentation, but was it done, today?” With the ability to import previously gathered information into the current note with just a few clicks, it’s possible that the information wasn’t reviewed at that specific encounter.
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As 2014 came to a close, the Meaningful Use program continued to fall short of its intended goals. Although more than 500,000 providers have registered for the Meaningful Use program, only 4% of professionals and 35% of hospitals have attested to Stage 2 of the program. These disappointing numbers come despite the fact that CMS watered down some of the requirements and moved the deadline back from November 30th to December 31st. Many providers are calling for the CMS to reduce its 365 day reporting requirement to 90 days but CMS remains steadfast behind the 365 day requirement.
Following widespread discontent with the meaningful use program and EHR policies, the American Medical Association (AMA) has released a list of eight priorities to improve quality and usability during EHR adoption.
A recent survey of more than 18,500 physicians finds that 22 percent of them are opting out of or disregarding altogether the meaningful use electronic health records program.
Eligible professionals participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program may be subject to payment adjustments beginning on January 1, 2015. Payment adjustments will depend on program participation and start year.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, CMS released a proposed rule that would make changes to the current Certified EHR Technologies (CEHRT) requirements and formally extend Stage II of Meaningful Use through 2016.
Medicare providers who are unable to successfully demonstrate meaningful use for 2013 due to circumstances beyond their control can apply for a “hardship exemption.” CMS is accepting applications for hardship exceptions to avoid the upcoming Medicare payment reductions for the 2013 reporting year.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has finally released SAFER Guides, a series of nine guidance documents that help EHR operators to use the technology safely in a variety of areas. The nine documents are organized into three broad categories – foundational guides, infrastructure guides and clinical process guides. They are all downloadable in an easy to view PDF format or they can be accessed through the website’s interactive tool. Both options are available at the following address: http://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/safer.