Intro to Meaningful Use

Earn Incentive Money for Upgrading Your Technology

Program Overview

Meaningful Use is a Medicare and Medicaid program that awards incentives for using certified electronic health records (EHRs) to improve patient care. To achieve Meaningful Use and avoid penalties, providers must follow a set of criteria that serve as a roadmap for effectively using an EHR.

Meaningful Use stages

Meaningful Use is implemented in a phased approach over a series of 3 stages.
You will complete each Stage for at least 2 years before moving onto the next.

Am I eligible?

If you care for Medicare or Medicaid patients, you may qualify for the Meaningful Use program.

Why start Meaningful Use?

Meaningful Use encourages you to switch from paper charts to electronic records while giving the best care to your patients. It improves your practice’s efficiency, and will earn you incentives. To avoid Meaningful Use Medicare penalties, you need to start Meaningful Use no later than 2014.

What are the Meaningful Use requirements?

To demonstrate Meaningful Use with your EHR, you must report on all of the program’s core measures and some of the menu measures.

Meaningful Use also requires you to report on a set of clinical quality measures (CQMs), which enable providers to track various aspects of patient care

What is the reporting timeline?

During your first year of meeting Meaningful Use, you have to fulfill the criteria over a 90-day reporting period. After that, you have to demonstrate the criteria for a full calendar year. In 2014, providers beyond their first year of Meaningful Use will participate in a quarterly reporting period tied to quarters of the calendar year.

If you’re participating in the Medicaid program, you can Adopt, Implement, or Upgrade (AIU) a certified EHR or demonstrate meaningful use of one in your first year to earn incentives. You would follow the reporting timeline starting next year.

What are the incentives and penalties?

Medicare EHR Incentive Program

Medicare incentive payments are equal to 75% of your annual Medicare Part B allowed charges up to a maximum yearly amount (see chart below).

Beginning in 2015, providers who are eligible for the Medicare Meaningful Use program who don’t successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use will be penalized—starting at 1% of Medicare Part B reimbursements and increasing each year to a maximum of 5%. There will be hardship exemptions for eligible providers.

Meaningful Use payment adjustments are based on achieving Meaningful Use two years before the adjustment year—so providers starting in 2013 avoid a penalty in 2015.

Providers who demonstrate for the first time in 2014 will, however, avoid a 2015 penalty if they begin their reporting period by July 1st, 2014 and attest by October 1st, 2014.

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Medicaid EHR Incentive Program

If you see Medicaid patients, you can earn up to $63,750 in incentive payments over the six years that you choose to participate in the program (see chart below).

If you start in 2014, you can earn incentives through 2019. Please consult your state's agency for information about a specific payment schedule.

Providers who are eligible for Meaningful Use under the Medicaid program are not subject to payment penalties, unless the provider is also eligible under the Medicare program.

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