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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MEANINGFUL USE PROGRAM

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MEANINGFUL USE PROGRAM

The meaningful use program defines the minimum standards for using electronic health records and exchanging patients’ clinical information between health care providers, insurance companies, and patients. The meaningful use program is voluntary and requires government certified technology; however, clinics using it are eligible for incentive payments. To receive the maximum reimbursement, clinics must meet the criteria of each stage.

WHAT IS THE MEANINGFUL USE PROGRAM FROM CMS?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encourage the use of electronic health records by providing incentive payments. The Quality Payment Program allows health care providers to choose participation based on the clinic’s size, location, specialty, and the number of patients. It provides incentives by measuring the performance of clinicians using the certified technology.

WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF MEANINGFUL USE?

The meaningful use program is divided into three stages, each focuses on specific activities within the program. Stage one focuses on promoting the use of electronic health records and explains the requirements of the systems used by health care providers. Stage two increases the criteria thresholds for compliance and introduces rules for patient engagement, decision support, and care coordination requirements. Stage three focuses on the exchange of health information and other guidelines in the earlier stages. The HITECH Act outlines the plans for the adoption of electronic health records through the meaningful use program.

WHAT ARE THE MEASURES FOR MEANINGFUL USE?

The measurements for meaningful use start in Stage 1, which are required for a three month period, and they are added onto and increased in Stage 2 measurements. Eligible professionals and hospitals are measured separately for objectives and clinical quality. There are a lot of measures under each main category requiring a specific number of the measurements to be met; for example, eligible professionals must meet 20 out of 23 objectives and 9 out of 64 clinical quality metrics.

The goal of the meaningful use program is promoting the electronic health record systems to create a structure to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of the health care system. Eligible professionals and hospitals progress through the three stages as they implement the electronic health records systems.


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