Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money. Check out Lynn’s previous Meaningful Use Monday posts.
HHS recently announced the postponement of Stage 2 Meaningful Use to 2014. The only providers who are in a position to act on this “opportunity” are those who have not yet, but still could, attest to meaningful use in 2011—but, a word of caution before you rush to attest in 2011.
The HHS announcement “encourages any providers who have been waiting until 2012 to attest to Stage 1 meaningful use now. ….Those providers who first attest in 2011 can get three payment years for meeting the Stage 1 expectations, while those first attesting in 2012 can only get two payment years under Stage 1 criteria.”
True. However, you must carefully weigh the benefit, (earning the $8,000 third incentive payment under the rules of Stage 1 instead of those of Stage 2), against the cost, (the permanent loss of your 2011 Medicare ePrescribing bonus money). Remember, you cannot receive incentive payments under both programs during the same year, so you maximize your total reimbursement by collecting the 1% ePrescribing bonus this year and waiting just 3 months to begin earning the $44,000 in EHR incentives over the next 5 years. There is no universally right or wrong strategy—just do the math and analyze the trade-off before making a decision.