EMR Stimulus Question and Answer: Time Period for Medicare Allowable Charges

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You know how I love when readers ask me questions. Especially when I can use them to create a blog post. Why you ask? Because then at least I know I’m making one reader happy. Although, if one reader had the question, it’s also quite likely that MANY more had the same question. On that note, the following is a question sent to me by Radhika:

To qualify for EMR stimulus money we need $24,000 in allowable medicare charges per physician. I am not sure whether we have to show the $24,000 over a period of 1 year or 90 days. Can you please clarify?

This is a great question. The short answer is you have the entire year to accrue the $24,000 in allowable Medicare charges that’s required to get the full EMR stimulus money in year 1 (you get paid 75% of your Medicare allowable charges up to the cap for that year).

The confusion between the 90 days and the full year stems from the meaningful use requirements. While the allowable charges can be accrued for the entire year, you only have to show meaningful use for 90 days (at least for meaningful use stage 1) of the year.

I heard one person tell me that means they can wait until October 1st to start showing meaningful use. While this is technically true, you are a brave person if you don’t start showing meaningful use until that date. I’d personally shoot for April or May. That way if you run into any troubles, you still have some room to correct any mistakes.