CMS announces registration for EHR incentive program

HCPRO Website, December 23, 2010

Resources available to help eligible providers

by Andrea Kraynak, CPC
CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced that registration will begin January 3, 2011, for eligible providers hoping to participate in the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, according to a December 22 CMS press release.
Several states will also be starting registration for the Medicaid incentive program on that date, including Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Several other states (California, Missouri, and North Dakota) will begin registration in February, according to CMS. Others are likely to begin in the spring or summer of 2011.
“With the start of registration, these landmark programs get underway,” Donald Berwick, MD, CMS administrator said in the press release.
Providers should familiarize themselves with program requirements to prepare for registration via the CMS website. The website has information and FAQs on program payment, eligibility, meaningful use, and certified technology. Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments are available under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) for eligible professionals and hospitals. Providers will be subject to a negative adjustment in their reimbursement if they do not become meaningful users by 2015.

Registration is required for program participation. According to the CMS EHR incentive program website, most hospitals will need the following:

  • A national provider identifier (NPI)
  • A National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) account
  • An enrollment record in the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS)
  • CMS Identity and Access Management (I&A) system user identification (ID) and password
  • CMS certification number (CCN)
  • Hospital tax ID number

Eligible professionals need:

  • An NPI
  • An NPPES account
  • An enrollment record in the PECOS. (Note: This is unnecessary for those registering for the Medicaid program only.)
  • Payee tax ID number (for those reassigning benefits)
  • Payee NPI (for those reassigning benefits)
In addition to registration, eligible providers must employ certified EHR technology and demonstrate meaningful use of the technology. It is unnecessary for providers to identify their certified EHR technology during registration, however, the information is required for attestation.

“All providers (eligible professionals and eligible hospitals) need to be sure they have an NPI, which can take some effort to obtain; and, if they don’t already, integrated delivery networks need to make sure they understand what their CCN number means in terms of whether their hospitals are treated as one or many for the incentives,” according to Margret Amatayakul, MBA, RHIA, CHPS, CPHIT, CPEHR, CPHIE, FHIMSS, president of Margret\A Consulting, LLC in Schaumburg, IL.

Available resources for eligible providers
CMS and the ONC are emphasizing the availability of a number of resources to assist hospitals and professionals eligible for the program.
“ONC and CMS have worked together over many months to prepare for the startup on January 3rd. ONC’s Certified HIT Product List includes more than 130 certified EHR systems or modules and is updated frequently. ONC also has hands-on assistance available across the country through 62 Regional Extension Centers,” David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology, said in the press release.
EHR incentive program timeline

CMS also announced several important dates in 2011 for participating providers, including the following:

  • January 3, 2011 – Registration begins for the Medicare EHR incentive program and for the Medicaid program in certain states. (Some states may begin to issue Medicaid incentive payments in January, as well.)
  • April 2011 – Attestation begins for the Medicare EHR incentive program.
  • May 2011 – First Medicare EHR incentive payments expected.
  • July 3, 2011 – Deadline for eligible hospitals to start the 90-day reporting period to demonstrate meaningful use for the Medicare program in fiscal year (FY) 2011.
  • October 3, 2011 – Deadline for eligible professionals under the Medicare incentive program to begin their 90-day reporting period for calendar year (CY) 2011.
  • November 30, 2011 – Deadline for hospitals to register and attest to receive an FY 2011 payments under the Medicare incentive program.
  • December 31, 2011 – Payment ends for eligible professionals for CY 2011.
“Hospitals need to mark their calendars and pay close attention to the timelines to register for both Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentives,” says Debbie Mackaman, RHIA, CHCO, Medicare Boot Camp® Instructor for HCPro, Inc, in Danvers, MA.
Physicians are only eligible for one EHR incentive program at a time—either Medicare or Medicaid—although each physician in a group can register for one or the other, and they may change once during the incentive program.
Berwick notes that while immediate registration is not mandatory, he encourages providers to do so as soon as they have their certified EHR technology.
Editor’s note: Click here to view the CMS press release. Information on the EHR incentive program website is available at www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms. For a list of certified EHR systems or modules on the ONC’s certified health IT product list, visit http://onc-chpl.force.com/ehrcert. In addition, click here for more information on the Regional Extension Centers. Information on state Medicaid EHR incentive programs is available at www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/40_MedicaidStateInfo.asp.

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