With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) come many new regulations in healthcare. A vast majority of these regulations, including Meaningful Use, affect the way health care institutions are reimbursed.
While meaningful use is not mandated, based on the ACA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) placed a stipulation on reimbursements based on meaningful use, putting facilities in jeopardy of lower reimbursements if they do not comply, according to a press release from Warren General Hospital.
What exactly is Meaningful Use? Douglas Megill, chief information officer at WGH states, "Meaningful Use is a financial incentive program hosted by Medicare and Medicaid to improve patient care. The incentive is awarded if providers use a certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) in what is considered a "meaningful way".
The incentive is measured based on core objectives which have been determined to improve patient care. The objectives for "meaningful use" that eligible professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to receive an incentive payment have been established by CMS."
The release added, there are three stages to meaningful use. These stages all have specific deadlines for completion. Each stage contains a specific number of specific objectives to be met. The next stage then builds upon these objectives, with the goal being to provide more efficient, quality patient care.
WGH is proud to announce that it met all 23 requirements to attest to the first stage of Meaningful Use in 2103. WGH received a payment from CMS of $1.4 million. While meeting this objective brought additional revenue to WGH, the cost incurred to comply and maintain Meaningful Use is substantial as well. Currently WGH is working towards compliance with stage two.
Dr. Megill went on to say "Meaningful use supports high quality patient care. It allows a patient's health information to be accessed by providers in the click of a button with appropriate privacy safeguards. The shared access among patients various medical providers allows for a better means of communication. This access becomes crucial when evaluating patients to determine the appropriate care."