EHR on the web

eClinicalWorks LLC to Pay $155 Million to Resolve Civil False Claims Act Allegations

eClinical Works has agreed to pay $155 million to resolve allegations the the EHR company misled consumers about the certification of it’s EHR technology and paid some customers kickbacks in return for positive promotion of it’s product, this is according to a press release by the Department of Justice May 31, 2017.

Since 2011, healthcare providers who used eClinical Works software and attested to satisfying the Meaningful Use objectives and measures received incentive payments through the Meaningful Use program. Had eClinical Works disclosed that its software did not meet the certification criteria, it would not have been certified and its customers would not have been eligible for incentive payments. In addition, requests for incentive payments that resulted from unlawful kickbacks constituted false claims.

eClinical Works paid unlawful remuneration to influential customers to recommend its product to prospective customer. Among other things, eClinical Works employed a “referral program” a “site visit program” and a “reference program”. Through its “referral program” eClinical Works paid current users as much as $500 for each provider they referred who executed a contract with eClinical Works. All of these programs violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and are included in the original complaint.

The company and its three founders — CEO Girish Navani, CMO Rajesh Dharampuriya, MD, and COO Mahesh Navani — will be responsible for paying $154.9 million to the federal government. One developer and two project managers are on the hook for a combined $80,000.

Under the settlement, the EHR company headquartered in central Massachusetts will enter into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which includes a provision that eClinicalWorks “retain an Independent Software Quality Oversight Organization to assess ECW’s software quality control systems and provide written semi-annual reports to OIG and ECW documenting its reviews and recommendations.”

Customers of the EHR company will be able to obtain updated versions of eClinicalWorks at no cost or transfer their data to another EHR software free of charge.

 

Advancing Care Information and Improvement Activities-Q&A

shutterstock_498951139The Merit Based Incentive Program (aka MIPS) defines four categories of eligible clinician performance, contributing to an annual MIPS final score of up to 100 points (relative weights are indicated for the CY2017 performance year and associated CY2019 payment year):

  • Quality (60% for 2017)
  • Advancing Care Information (ACI, renamed from Meaningful Use) (25% for 2017)
  • Improvement Activities (CPIA) (15% for 2017)
  • Cost (0% for 2017, but will be weighted for 2018 and beyond)

On December 13, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), briefly discussed two of the four Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) categories: Advancing Care Information (ACI) and Improvement Activities. Most of the 90-minute session was reserved for questions and answers. Here are some of the questions your colleagues asked, with answers from CMS.

Q: How is the ACI scored for hospital-based and non-facing patient clinicians who are part of a large multi-specialty reporting as a group?

A: That would depend on whether they choose to submit data, or not; they still have the option because they’re hospital-based. If they choose to participate, they will be scored as a group. The resulting update will apply to everybody in the group.

Q: When ACI is set to zero, to what category is the percentage applied?

A: The entire 25 points is moved to the Quality category, so instead of the Quality category being worth 60 points, it will be worth 85 points of the composite performance score (CPS).

Q: Will providers be submitting data through the same system for ACI and Improvement Activities as they did for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program?

A: No. There will be a new system for MIPS. However, if you are eligible to participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, you will need to attest through the same system as before.

Q: When reporting as a group, will nurse practitioners and physician assistants be excluded from ACI scoring if no data is submitted?

A: Yes. But if they are part of a group ,they will get the same update as everyone else in the group.

Q: Do eligible clinicians need to inform CMS in advance whether they will be attesting as an individual or a group? If so, how do they do that?

A: They don’t have to inform CMS; they just submit the data — unless they are reporting as a group through the CMS Web Interface or reporting Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) data. Information on these protocols are forthcoming.

Q: For the test portion of Pick Your Pace, which allows for one improvement activity to receive credit, can we pick any activity or do we need to pick a high or medium activity?

A: You can pick a high or medium activity, but a medium activity will only give you have the points (7.5) toward your final score.

Q: If we do not use an EHR and cannot attest to ACI, do we have to attest or submit this fact anywhere?

A: No. Just don’t complete that part of the reporting requirements.

Q: The rule states that ACI performance for groups will be based on a group score. Does that mean the reports showing the numerator/denominator for each eligible clinician in the group have to be combined?

A: The attestation should be aggregate there is one submission — one numerator and denominator per measure — for the group. If the group is using multiple EHR technologies, you will have to sum the numerator/denominator for each measure across the different EHRs for the group.

Q: If you do group reporting, do you only need a “1” in the numerator for the entire group to get credit for the base score under ACI?

A: Yes.

Q: When will the specifics of the improvement activities be released? The working on the 90-plus activities are vague and open to interpretation.

A: We are not planning to issue more specific language around the activities for the transition year. We aren’t requiring any specific data to be submitted. What you see is on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website is all that is required.

Q: Will the bonus payment be a one-time payment?

A: Whatever score you get in MIPS will be applied to your Physician Fee Schedule amount. The method for paying the added bonus for exceptional performers is still being worked out.

Q: What if your certified EHR technology (CEHRT) year changes mid year due to an upgrade and your submitting a full year of data?

A: You can submit a combination. Aggregate your data between the  two EHRs and submit the data for the ACI category as one submission. This is not the case for Quality reporting, however. You will need to work with a data aggression vendor to report electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs), in that case.

Q: Does MIPS reporting take the place of EHR reporting? Do we still have to use a qualified EHR or can we do claims-based reporting?

A: The data needs to come out of your EHR. For Quality measures, you’re no longer required to submit eCQMs to earn credit. In the Quality category, you could submit via claims and it wouldn’t count against you.

Q: Can you report as a group under MIPS if not all of your providers are using a CEHRT?

A: Yes.

Q: What type of documentation is required for improvement activities?

A: For improvement activities, we are not requiring documentation. But providers should retain copies of medical records, charts, reports, and any electronic records that are applicable and appropriate for up to 10 years after the conclusion of the performance period, in case of an audit.

See the whole presentation:

Holiday Hours-2016

 

 

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We wish you a Merry Christmas

and

A Happy New Year!

Our 2016 Holiday hours will be:

Monday, December 26th-CLOSED

Tuesday December 27th-OPEN Normal Hours

Wednesday December 28th- OPEN Normal Hours

Thursday December 29th-OPEN Normal Hours

Friday December 30th-CLOSED

Monday January 2nd-OPEN Normal Hours

 

 

CMS Announces July 2015 Transition from IACS to EIDM

CMS 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would like to inform Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) participants and their staff to an important system update scheduled to be in place on July 13, 2015.


The Individuals Authorized Access to CMS Computer Services (IACS) system will be retired, but current IACS user accounts will transition to an existing CMS system called Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM). The EIDM system provides a way for business partners to apply for, obtain approval, and receive a single user ID for accessing multiple CMS applications.


Existing PQRS IACS users, their data, and roles will be moved to EIDM and will be accessible from the ‘PQRS Portal’ portion of the CMS Enterprise Portal at  http://portal.cms.gov. Users will then access the PQRS Portal to submit data, retrieve submission reports, view feedback reports, or conduct various administrative and maintenance activities. New PQRS users will need to register for an EIDM account.


Stay tuned for more information and resources in the coming weeks and months! In the meantime, please ensure that your IACS account is active, current, and you’re able to log in. This will help ensure a smoother transition to EIDM.


For additional assistance regarding IACS or EIDM, contact the QualityNet Help Desk at 1-866-288-8912 (TTY 1-877-715-6222) from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday, or via email at qnetsupport@hcqis.org. To avoid security violations, do not include personal identifying information, such as Social Security Number or TIN, in email inquiries to the QualityNet Help Desk.

CMS Announces Extension for EPs participating in PQRS via EHR and QCDR (QRDA III format)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to announce that the submission deadlines for the PQRS reporting methods below have been extended.  All other submission timeframes for other PQRS reporting methods remain the same.  The revised submission timeframes are:

Reporting Method Submission Period Submission Deadline Time

(All Times are Eastern)

EHR Direct or Data Submission Vendor that is certified EHR technology (CEHRT) 1/1/15 – 3/20/15 8:00 p.m.
Qualified clinical data registries (QCDRs) (using QRDA III format) reporting for PQRS and the clinical quality measure (CQM) component of meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 1/1/15 – 3/20/15 8:00 p.m.

An Individuals Authorized Access to CMS Computer Services (IACS) account with the “PQRS Submitter Role” is required for these PQRS data submission methods. Please see the IACS Quick Reference Guides for specifics.

PQRS provides an incentive payment to individual eligible professionals (EPs) and group practices that satisfactorily participate or satisfactorily report data on quality measures for covered Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) services. Additionally, those who do not meet the 2014 PQRS reporting requirements will be subject to a negative payment adjustment on all Medicare Part B PFS services rendered in 2016.

Note:  The deadline listed above does apply to Individual Eligible Professionals and Group Practices participating in other CMS programs such as the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative that are utilizing the reporting methods listed above. Additionally, CMS has extended the deadline for EPs wishing to attest to meaningful use for the EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program to March 20, 2015. Please be on the lookout for a separate listserv with information regarding the attestation extension.

For questions, please contact the QualityNet Help Desk 1-866-288-8912 or via email at Qnetsupport@hcqis.org from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Complete information about PQRS is available at  http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/PQRS/index.html.

New EHR Attestation Deadline

New EHR Attestation Deadline for Eligible Professionals:
March 31, 2014

CMS is extending the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program 2013 reporting year from 11:59 pm ET on February 28, 2014 to 11:59 pm ET March 31, 2014.
In addition, CMS is offering assistance to eligible hospitals who may have experienced difficulty attesting to submit their attestation retroactively and avoid the 2015 payment adjustment.
This extension will allow more time for providers to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2013 program year, as well as avoid the 2015 payment adjustment.
This extension does not impact the deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program or any other CMS program, including the electronic submission for the Physician Quality Reporting System EHR Incentive Program Pilot.

How to attest?
If you are an eligible professional, you may use the registration and attestation system to submit your attestation for meaningful use for the 2013 reporting year. You must attest prior by 11:59 pm ET on March 31, 2014 to meet the new 2013 program deadline.
If you are an eligible hospital, you may contact CMS for assistance submitting your attestation retroactively. You must contact CMS by 11:59 pm on March 15, 2014 in order to participate for the 2013 program year.

Resources
If you are an eligible professional working on your attestation for the 2013 reporting period, there are resources available to help you with the registration and attestation process.
Stage 1 Meaningful Use Calculator
Registration and Attestation User Guides
EHR Incentive Program Website
The EHR Information Center is open to assist you with all of your registration and attestation system inquiries. Please call, 1-888-734-6433 (primary number) or 888-734-6563 (TTY number). The EHR Information Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Central Time), except federal holidays.

Tips
In addition, there are some simple steps you can take which will help to make the process easier for you:
• Ensure that your payment assignment and other relevant information is up to date in the Medicare payment system PECOS
• Make sure to include a valid email address in your EHR program registration
• Consider logging on to use the attestation system during non-peak hours such as evenings and weekends
• Log on to the registration and attestation system now and ensure that your information is up to date and begin entering your 2013 data
• If you experience attestation problems, call the EHR Incentive Program Help Desk and report the problem
• If your organization has more than 1,000 providers assigned to a proxy user, use the PECOS system to designate additional proxies to facilitate attestation.

Eligible Hospital Instructions:
1. Send the following information to EH2013Extension@Provider-Resources.com no later than 11:59 PM EST on 3/15/2014:
o CCN
o Hospital Name
o Contact Person Name
o Contact Person Email
o Contact Person Phone
2. Type “EH 2013 EXTENSION” in the subject line of the email note
3. Each Hospital must be identified in a separate email
CMS will contact the person that you designate in your request to provide additional instructions regarding the Eligible Hospital 2013 attestation submission.

How to Prepare For, Survive an EHR Meaningful Use Audit

Posted from AAFP News Now:

Use of the words “audit” and “Medicare” in the same sentence tend to make even the most seasoned physician uncomfortable. So when the news broke in March that CMS had added prepayment meaningful use (MU) audits to its ongoing postpayment audit process, some family physicians expressed concern.

Understanding that a little knowledge can go a long way toward alleviating anxiety, AAFP News Now recently spoke with a government expert about how physicians can prepare for MU audits associated with the Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program.

Rob Anthony, deputy director of the Health IT Initiatives Group for CMS’ Office of E-Health Standards and Services, noted that as many as 10 percent of program participants would face an audit. “Keep in mind that the audits are both random and targeted,” said Anthony, so physicians shouldn’t assume they’ve made an error if they receive an e-mail audit notification from Figliozzi and Co., the certified public accountant firm selected by CMS to conduct the audits.

“We’re required to do due diligence on our end,” said Anthony, and that includes robust oversight of a government program that disperses taxpayer dollars in the form of physician bonuses that can total as much as $18,000. According to Anthony, the audit process is the same regardless of whether physicians are notified before or after they are issued a check for successfully meeting MU program requirements.

“The first thing we always tell people is that if you’ve entered accurate numbers (in the MU attestation process) and have the documentation to support that, then the audit is a really simple process for this program. You’re simply showing (auditors) supporting documentation,” said Anthony.

For the vast majority of people, the primary support document is the report generated by a certified EHR because it generally provides both the numerator and denominator values needed for MU attestation.

“It’s important to make sure the report specifies a time period and indicates that it is specific to you as a provider,” said Anthony. That’s as easy as including a National Provider Identifier, provider name or practice name.

Anthony noted that some certified EHRs provide a “snapshot in time,” meaning that the physician can go back to any 90-day period, and the system always shows the correct numerator and denominator values for that period. However, many EHRs don’t have that function and instead use what Anthony called a “rolling system” that changes the values of the numerators and denominators after the reporting period ends.

In that situation, he advised physicians to “save either a paper or an electronic copy of the report you used to attest so that when an auditor comes knocking and asking for supporting documentation, you can hand him a report that shows the numerator and denominator values that you entered (for attestation) rather than something that might have changed later down the line.”

A number of physicians also have had trouble complying with what Anthony called the “yes/no functionality issues” that require specific EHR functions — such as drug allergy interaction checks and clinical decision support — to be turned on during the entire reporting period.

“Some systems have an audit log that shows that you have functionality enabled for the entire reporting time, but many systems don’t,” said Anthony. If your system doesn’t, save one or more screen shots that are dated from the reporting period to which you are attesting.

One additional area that has snagged numerous physicians is the security risk analysis. “This doesn’t impose any additional requirements beyond what’s already required for a security risk analysis for your practice as part of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act),” said Anthony. “The only difference is that we require it more frequently,” or every year for MU versus every two years for HIPAA purposes.

Anthony warned that a “generalized” security risk analysis wouldn’t meet the MU audit requirement. “You need something that shows it (an analysis) was done before the end of the reporting period and that shows it is specific to your certified EHR and your particular practice. Information that is dated and specific to you goes a long way for a lot of these requirements.”

Lastly, Anthony advised physicians to direct any audit questions to Figliozzi and Co., including requests for clarification about requested documents as well as requests for additional time to comply.

Anthony summed up how to make the audit process go smoothly: “If you’ve input the numbers correctly and accurately, and you have the documentation to show how you got there, the audit process is simple. You’re not generating new information.”

Additional resources can be found by clicking the following links:

CMS: EHR Incentive Program Supporting Documentation for Audits

CMS: Audit Overview Fact Sheet

CMS: Sample Audit Request Letter

 

 

Deadline for avoiding e-prescribing penalty is fast approaching.

The 2% penalty is the punitive side of a federal program designed to motivate physicians and other clinicians to replace their prescription pads with iPads, smart phones, and the like. In 2010, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began paying bonuses to clinicians who e-prescribe for their Medicare patients. The bonus that year was 2% of a clinician’s Medicare reimbursement. In 2013, the final year for these incentive payments, the bonus is 0.5%.

Last year, Medicare began penalizing clinicians who had not previously qualified as “successful electronic prescribers,” in CMS parlance, or electronically transmitted at least 10 scripts for Medicare patients in the first half of the 2011. That number of e-prescriptions, reported to CMS through G codes on Medicare claims, is not enough to earn a bonus, but it staves off the penalty, which was 1% in 2012. The penalty disappears after 2014.

Clinicians will be exempt from the 2% penalty in 2014 if they:

  • qualified for an e-prescribing bonus during 2012;
  • did not have at least 100 Medicare claims in the first 6 months of 2013 with 1 of the 50-plus billing codes that must be associated with an e-prescription for it to count toward the bonus;
  • did not generate 10% or more of their Medicare allowable charges in the first 6 months of 2013 with the required billing codes;
  • were not a physician, podiatrist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant as of June 30;
  • achieved “meaningful use” under the Medicare or Medicaid incentive programs for electronic health record (EHR) systems in either 2012 or the first 6 months of 2013, and reported that to CMS by June 30, 2013;
  • registered to participate in one of the EHR incentive programs by June 30 and adopted certified EHR technology; or
  • Lacked prescribing privileges and indicated that with code G8644 at least once on a Medicare claim before June 30.

Clinicians also can apply for one of several hardship exemptions, which include practicing in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access and being barred by local, state, or federal law from e-prescribing. The deadline for a hardship exemption application, accomplished with a G code on a Medicare claim, is June 30.”

More information about avoiding the Medicare e-prescribing penalty is available on the CMS Web site, or feel free to give us a call-888-880-0384

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PQRS..more than just letters in the alphabet!

In all the whorl wind of Meaningful Use Stages one and two, e-RX incentives (or penalties), ICD-10 implementation, there’s another “oldie but goodie” program for providers to participate in.  The program has been around for a few years, but did you know come 2015, you may be subject to another penalty (on top of everything else) for not participating in this program?

According to CMS- The Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) is a reporting program that uses a combination of incentive payments and payment adjustments to promote reporting of quality information by eligible professionals. Beginning in 2015, the program also applies a payment adjustment to eligible professionals who do not satisfactorily report data on quality measures for covered professional services.

Planning to participate in 2013?  Here are some things you should know:

  • To earn the 2013 PQRS incentive payment and avoid the 2015 PQRS payment adjustment you need to collect your data from January 1 through December 31 of this year.
  • Decide if you are going to report through your EHR (you may have to discuss with your vendor if you can report through your EHR), or if you are going to report your measure on claims.
  • Become very familiar with the CMS website- http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/PQRS
  • Report on each eligible claim
  • Avoid including multiple dates of service and/or multiple rendering providers on the same claim – this will help eliminate diagnosis codes associated with other services being attributed to another provider’s services
  • For measures that require more than one code, ensure that all codes are captured on the claim
  • If your claim with the reporting codes on it was denied for payment the PQRS codes will not be included in the program analysis.
  • Check you remittance advice for remark code N365, which reads “This procedure code is not payable. It is for reporting/information purposes only.”
  • Review all diagnoses (if applicable) and CPT Service (encounter) codes for denominator inclusion in PQRS/eRx (i.e., claims that are denominator-eligible).

Participation this year in the program could earn you incentives of up to 1%.  Failure to report could land you a whopping 1.5% pay cut (in addition to all those other penalties from CMS).

Need to learn more?  Visit us on the web at www.sunrize.com.  CMS also has a new eHealth Website that has some useful information as well- http://www.cms.gov/ehealth.

Be prepared for changes to stage 1 meaningful use!

There are some changes coming in 2014 for all those meaningful users still in stage one.   While some of these changes are positive, there are a few that may come as a surprise-especially if a practice attested for the first time in 2013, and plan to do the second year of stage one in 2014.  Here are just a few things to be aware of:

  1. You can no longer count an exclusion toward the minimum 5 menu objectives.  In other words-there are 10 to choose from and a provider must be able to attest to 5 of those with no exclusions.
  2. Seeing patients ages 3 and over? You have to record blood pressure, height and weight on more than 50% of patients.  An EP can exclude his or herself, though if there is no relevance to the scope of practice.
  3. The capability to exchange key clinical information among providers of care and patient authorized entities electronically is no longer required starting in 2013.
  4. Providing patients with timely access to their health information within 4 business days has been changed in 2014 to being able to provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within 4 business days of the information being available to the EP.  This will have to be reported for more than 50% of all unique patients.
  5. LOTS of changes with Clinical Quality Measures (CQM).  Prior to 2014, providers have 44 measures to choose from in which they had to report 6 total (3 core and 3 alternate).  Starting in 2014 and beyond a provider must report 9 measures (out of a total of 64).  Selected CQM’s must cover at least 3 of the National Quality Strategy domains.  For more information please refer to www.cms.gov/EHRincentiveprograms.

Providers who were early demonstrators of meaningful use in 2011 will meet three consecutive years of meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before advancing to the Stage 2 criteria in 2014.  All other providers would meet two years of meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before advancing to the Stage 2 criteria in the third year.  This is regardless of the year you started to participate.

Looking forward to stage 2 of meaningful use?  Although you can’t begin to collect data for stage 2 meaningful use until 2014, there are a couple of things to have in place ideally before 2014.

The first thing is to establish a patient portal and become familiar with the workings of the portal.  Work out any changes to your workflow in order to become successful in establishing protocols for staff and for patients.  Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for marketing.

Another item for action would be to get with your lab (if you haven’t already done so), and make sure your EHR has a way to incorporate lab results as structured data.  This menu objective for stage 1 becomes a core objective for stage 2.  Creating this “bridge”, can take some time to do so the sooner the better.  Some labs are more backlogged than others and this could very well take up to 6 months to complete.

Any questions?  We’d be happy to help visit our website- www.sunrize.com or email me-  Kelly@sunrize.com.