Understanding Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage 2 Deadlines – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on June 11, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is a guest blog post by Zubin Emsley, CEO of ChartLogic, Inc. I think readers will find this post by Zubin quite interesting. He brings up some important points, makes some strong assertions, and even makes some daring projections. I look forward to more discussion of the post in the comments. Are we at “the tipping point?”

With all the controversy surrounding the CMS’s proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements, it is easy to forget that the clock is ticking on the Stage 1 requirements. Physicians who have not yet qualified for the Stage 1 incentives are at risk of leaving $5,000 of incentives on the table if they don’t get started immediately.

The comment period on the proposed Stage 2 rules is now closed and the CMS is expected to incorporate the comments and issue final rules around August 1. The Stage 2 program is currently scheduled to take effect for eligible providers on Jan. 1, 2014; however, there is a good chance this date will be pushed back.

Physicians who want to qualify for the full, five-years’ worth of meaningful use incentives ($44,000 total) must register, adopt a certified EHR system and submit 90-days’ worth of data by Jan. 1, 2013. That means your practice must have incorporated your EHR system into its workflow and be collecting the needed data sets by Oct. 3, 2012.

Since most medical groups need several months to select an EHR vendor, get their new system installed, and get physicians and staff trained, that means time is running out for those who have postponed a decision.

If you miss this year’s deadline, you may still participate in MU Stage 1 next year (2013); however, you will only be eligible for four years of payments ($39,000 total). Those who wait until 2014 to qualify will only be eligible for $24,000 in payments.

We have reached “the tipping point” in terms of EHR adoption. Penalties for failing to e-prescribe began this year, and in 2014 and 2015, physicians will face mounting financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid if they don’t adopt an EHR. Commercial insurers are also adopting various kinds of accountable care programs that require submission of clinical data. Within five years, the only way a physician practice will be able to operate without an EHR would be if it moved to an all-cash, concierge type model.

Zubin Emsley is chief executive officer of ChartLogic, Inc., a national EHR vendor based in Salt Lake City. For more information see www.chartlogic.com