Meaningful Use in 2016: Practice Management Conundrum?

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    Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG Chair, ACG National Affairs

    Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG
    Chair, ACG National Affairs

    “Advancing Care Information” requirements will replace Meaningful Use beginning in 2017.  What’s more, Congress passed legislation last year that allows ACG members to apply for a blanket hardship exemption for 2015 Meaningful Use reporting requirements.  ACG members have until July 2016 to apply for this exemption.

    So is 2016 a Meaningful Use “donut-hole” year?

    Since Meaningful Use — err, Advancing Care Information — should reduce provider reporting burdens by eliminating the “Clinical Decision Support” and “Computerized Provider Order Entry” objectives starting 2017, and since ACG members can still take advantage of the 2015 reporting exemption (avoiding a 2017 payment cut) … is it even worth participating in Meaningful Use in 2016?  Would your practice benefit from just accepting the 3% payment cut in 2018?

    Only you can answer this question based on your individual Medicare fee-for-service revenue and practice management operations. (ACG is not officially recommending this).  Somethings to consider could include: the CMS estimated amount of time and cost in participating in Meaningful Use in 2016; comparing that to your practice’s actual time and cost when participating in Meaningful Use for 2016; whether or not your practice can make up for this 3% cut in Medicare Part B revenue by not participating in Meaningful Use but freeing up more time to see and treat Medicare Part B patients.

    Here’s some other information about meeting Meaningful Use reporting requirements in 2016.

    • All providers are required to attest to a single set of objectives and measures. For EPs, there are 10 objectives, including the two objectives CMS proposes to eliminate in 2017.
    • In 2016, all providers must attest to objectives and measures using EHR technology certified to the 2014 Edition or the 2015 Edition, or a combination of the two.
    • Many of the alternate exclusions that were available in 2015 are not applicable in 2016.
    • In 2016, the reporting period for all returning Meaningful Use participants is a full calendar year (January 1 to December 31, 2016). For first‐time participants in 2016, the EHR reporting period is a minimum of a continuous 90‐day period between January 1 and December 31, 2016.
    • Returning participants who successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use for CY 2016 and satisfy all other program requirements will avoid the payment adjustment in CY 2018 if the EP successfully attests by February 28, 2017.
    • New participants who successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use for CY 2016 and satisfy all other program requirements will avoid the payment adjustment in CY 2017 and CY 2018 if the EP successfully attests by October 1, 2016.

    Please check out ACG’s Meaningful Use toolkit to learn more on important dates and 2016 reporting requirements.

    Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

    Chair, ACG National Affairs Committee

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