Tips for Stage 2 Meaningful Use

 In Articles, Meaningful Use, Policy Updates

The penalties are increasing. Failing to successfully attest to Meaningful Use in 2015 will result in a 3% reduction in 2017 Medicare payments. For many providers, 2015 is the first year they will be attesting for Stage 2 and it’s a big leap. We’ve compiled our most useful tips.

Skipping a Year: Make sure you are clear about what stage you are in. Remember that each provider in your practice can be at a different stage. Although each provider has at least 2 years at each stage, if you are attesting under the Medicare Program and skipped a year, you have to meet the requirements as if you had not skipped. If you started in 2013 at Stage 1 and skipped 2014, you must attest to Stage 2 in 2015.

Exclusions: Especially with the recent announcement that 2015 will be reduced to a 90-day reporting period, carefully consider the exclusions for each measure. Several have a volume threshold. Although you would not meet the exclusion for a full calendar year, you may meet it for a 90-day period.

MU Reports from your EHR: They’re not always correct. For the core and menu measures, you can attest to numbers that differ from your EHR’s MU Report as long as you can document where the numbers came from and why they are more accurate than what comes from the EHR. Note that data reported for the 9 Clinical Quality Measures must match exactly to the EHR’s report.

Portal Views and Secure Messaging: Having a tough time getting your patients to take actions that allow you to meet these measures (5% of patients view their health information on-line, 5% send you a secure message)?

  • Appointment requests and refill requests can be counted as a secure message. Some EHRs do not include these in their MU reports, but if you can count them another way you can add them into your numerator manually.
  • Send an email to patients with a link to your portal and instructions for registering for an account. Offer a drawing for a $25 gift card among the patients who login, view their last visit note or lab result and send you a secure message within the next 2 weeks. You can repeat this as needed throughout the reporting period until you reach the required 5%.
  • Set up a ‘Portal Station’ in your lobby on busy days. Have a staff member (or student?) man the station. Providers can handpick patients that are likely to use the portal and walk them to the station following their visit where staff will log them in, show them how to view their information, and send a sample secure message.

Patient Reminders: This measure has a big denominator – all patients seen 2 or more times in the last 24 months. They are included even if you have not seen them during the reporting period. 10% of these patients have to receive a reminder of a preventive or follow-up service:

  • Note that reminders for scheduled services (like appointment reminders) do not count
  • Create a general preventive care reminder that is appropriate for a large number of your patients (i.e. Remember your sunscreen, even after summer ends. Healthy eating over the holidays. Managing stress.) Use the Patient List function to identify patients to receive the reminder-based on demographic data or perhaps diagnosis codes.
  • Reminders can be sent through the secure messaging function of your EHR and count even if the patient doesn’t open the message.
  • In some EHRs you have to manually check-off every patient that received the reminder for it to count on the MU Report. You can keep a list outside the EHR and use that as your numerator instead of entering the data manually.

Need help with adapting your workflows to meet the MU requirements? MSOC Health can help. Contact Jeanne Chamberlin at 919-442-2422 or to discuss a customized consulting engagement focused on your specific needs.

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