Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First Year of CMS's Incentive Programs Shows Opportunities to Improve Processes to Verify Providers Met Requirements

From the report: "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the four states GAO reviewed are implementing processes to verify whether providers met the Medicare and Medicaid EHR programs’ requirements and, therefore, qualified to receive incentive payments in the first year of the EHR programs. To receive such payments, providers must meet both (1) eligibility requirements that specify the types of providers eligible to participate in the programs and (2) reporting requirements that specify the information providers must report to CMS or the states, including measures that demonstrate meaningful use of an EHR system and measures of clinical quality. ...

CMS allows providers to exempt themselves from reporting certain measures if providers report that the measures are not relevant to their patients or practices. Measures calculated based on few patients may be statistically unreliable, which limits their usefulness as tools for quality improvement. CMS and others acknowledged that the availability of measures that are relevant to providers’ patients and practices and are statistically reliable is important to provide useful information to providers. Among participants in the first year of the Medicare EHR program, the majority of providers chose to exempt themselves from reporting on at least one meaningful use measure and many providers reported at least one clinical quality measure based on few—less than seven—patients." Read more