Prepare now for key health IT milestones in coming year

August 17, 2013

Health insurance market reforms, authorized under the federal Affordable Care Act, will take effect on New Year’s Day 2014. However, the year will also see a number of landmark events in the federal government’s eHealth Initiative – a $26 billion, multi-year effort to establish a nationwide electronic health information technology (HIT) system.

The following is an overview of important e-health dates, along with links to resources, tools, and information to help optometrists prepare for e-health implementation in 2014 and beyond.

Jan. 1, 2014

  • Medicare electronic funds transfer – Administrative Simplification operating rules for electronic funds transfers (EFT) and remittance advice go into effect. (See http://go.cms.gov/ 1c8H6x5)
  • Medicare and Medicare EHR programs – Eligible professionals (EPs) beginning Stage 2 with their third or fourth year of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. To learn more, see http://go.cms. gov/OzQYnb or http://www.excelod. com/ehr. Stage 2 Meaningful Use requires EHR interconnectivity. Optometrists are encouraged to consult AOAExcel™ for information on the OcuHub™ EHR interconnectivity network (www.excelod.com/home-toolkit).

Medicare practitioners in their second year or beyond of demonstrating meaningful use need to electronically report their clinical quality measures (CQMs) for the full calendar year of 2014 (Jan, 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014). Practitioners will then submit their CQM data during a two-month reporting period from Jan. 1, 2015, to Feb. 28, 2015.

  • Medicare e-Prescribing (e-Rx) Program – To be considered a successful electronic prescriber for the 2013 e-Rx Incentive Program, and potentially qualify to earn a 0.5 percent incentive payment, an individual EP will have had to report the e-Rx measure for at least 25 unique electronic prescribing events in which the measure is reportable by the EP during 2013. For more information, visit http://go.cms.gov/ 11pVajA or www.excelod.com.

Feb. 28, 2014

  • Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) – Practitioners must submit their calendar year (CY) 2013 data to receive a Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) incentive payment for 2013 by this date. It is also the last day for Medicare EPs participating in the Electronic Reporting Pilot to submit quality data to satisfy both PQRS and the CQM requirement of the EHR Incentive Program. Learn more about the PQRS program at http://go.cms.gov/18DfttF, www.aoa.org/PQRS, or www.excelod.com/PQRS. For information on the EHR Incentive Program Electronic Reporting Pilot, see http://go.cms.gov/1bUXtPh.
  • EHR attestation – This is also the deadline for practitioners to register and attest to demonstrating meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to receive an incentive payment for the 2013 reporting year. Medicaid registration and attestation deadlines may differ by state. For additional information, see http://go.cms.gov/HLRApo.

Oct. 1, 2014

  • ICD-10 – This is the official transition date from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes for diagnoses in health care practices and all other health care settings, as well as for procedures in hospital inpatient settings. Step-by-step CMS resources can help practitioners make sure they are prepared for the transition (http://go.cms.gov/Xe9zeO).
  • EHR meaningful use – This is the last day for practitioners who have not yet participated in the Medicare EHR Incentive program to begin their 90 days of meaningful use in 2014. Medicare practitioners will not be able to earn incentives for participation in the program after this date and will be subject to payment adjustments. Payment adjustments start at 1 percent and are cumulative for every year an EP does not participate (see http://go.cms.gov/OpAA6N).

Nov. 5, 2014

  • Health Plan Identifier – This is the deadline for large health plans to obtain a Health Plan Identifier (HPID). Small health plans have until Nov. 5, 2015 (see http://go.cms.gov/Qn77dS).

Stay up to date

For optometrists, becoming an integral part of the nation’s emerging e-health system is essential, according to AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D.

“America is transitioning to a health care system heavily focused on primary and preventive care,” Dr. Munson said. “Optometrists have the potential to play a key role in the nation’s transformed health care system, but only if they become part of the e-health systems that will support it. That means optometrists must meet all pertinent e-health deadlines over the coming months.”

The AOA and its AOAExcel™ subsidiary offer a range of guidance and services specifically designed to ensure optometrists can meet each of those deadlines.

The CMS frequently updates the information available to health care practitioners on its e-health programs. Changes in e-health program rules, regulations, criteria or deadlines are possible, the AOA Advocacy Group noted.

Optometrists should make a point to stay up to date with the developments related to e-health by following the AOA on Twitter (@AOANews and @AOAConnect) and online at aoa.org/news.

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