The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology to improve patient care. To receive an EHR incentive payment, providers have to show that they are “meaningfully using” their EHRs by meeting thresholds for a number of objectives. CMS has established the objectives for “meaningful use” that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to receive an incentive payment.
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are staged in three steps with increasing requirements for participation. All providers begin participating by meeting the Stage 1 requirements for a 90-day period in their first year of meaningful use and a full year in their second year of meaningful use. After meeting the Stage 1 requirements, providers will then have to meet Stage 2 requirements for two full years. Eligible professionals participate in the program on the calendar years, while eligible hospitals and CAHs participate according to the federal fiscal year.
Meaningful use includes both a core set and a menu set of objectives that are specific to eligible professionals or eligible hospitals and CAHs.For eligible professionals, there are a total of 24 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 19 of these 24 objectives must be met:
For eligible hospitals and CAHs, there are a total of 23 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 18 of these 23 objectives must be met:
CMS provides Meaningful Use Specification Sheets that bring together critical information on each objective to help you understand what you need to do to meet the program requirements. Each specification sheet covers a single eligible professional core or menu set objective in detail, including information on:
In addition to meeting the core and menu objectives, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and CAHs are also required to report clinical quality measures.