Planning ahead for 2012: Meaningful Use Checklist

The Push to Attest is On, Are you Prepared?

With 2011 coming to a close, the first year to attest for stage 1 Meaningful Use is also winding down.  What do you need to do to be ready to qualify in 2012?   There are many articles and resources to let a practice know the measures for meaningful use, but what should a practice be focusing on to make sure that when the time comes to attest they are ready?  Listed below is a quick checklist to make sure that your practice is ready when attest time arrives.

1.  Know Important Dates – Make sure you are aware of the drop dead dates (the last day to register, the last day to begin the 90 day reporting period, the date when payments begin to be mailed). If a practice is not aware of these dates, no preparation in the world will make them ready to Attest.

2.  Stay Informed – Become familiar with the Medicare/Medicaid website. Updates and changes to the program are continuing to come out. Is a good place to keep up to date on Meaningful Use news.

3.  Acquire the Needed Tools – One of the largest parts to Meaningful Use is having a certified Electronic Health Record (EHR). An entire checklist can be created just on this topic alone! If you are part of the 43% of office based providers without an EMR (iHealthBeat 12/7/2011), purchasing an EHR should be pretty high on the “to do list”. Regardless if you already have an EHR or not make, sure the one you choose has the functionality to track Meaningful Use measures. If it does not or is still developing the functionality, don’t be afraid to ask for the roadmap for when they will have this completed.

4.  Evaluate and Plan – There are 25 Meaningful Use objectives. To qualify for incentive payments, 20 objects must be met (15 from the core list and 5 from the menu set of objectives). Take the time to evaluate the objectives and determine which ones meet your practice and your patient needs. Know which ones you will be focusing on to meet the requirements. This may mean adding processes to a patient visit. For example, one of objectives is to document vital signs. If you are not doing that now, but want to start, make sure to create a plan for the office to ensure this becomes a regular step in a patient visit.

5.  Communicate and Train Staff – Technology can only prepare you so much. Make sure to have the buy in from staff. To be the most successful, everyone in the office must be on board with attesting and meeting the goals of the office. Make sure they are given the tools to help you succeed. Discuss and schedule training on new processes and software that may be needed.

AUTHOR: David Lischner


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