Meaningful Use Overview

information about incentives and requirements

On July 13, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released the final ruling for an incentive program aimed at encouraging practitioners to adopt EMR / EHR technology. The program includes 3 stages of implementation with each building upon the requirements of the prior stage. Providers are currently in Stage 1 with Stage 2 requirements not becoming effective until 2014.


Stage 1

Began in 2011

Core required: 15 of 15

Menu required: 10 of 10

Stage 2

Begins in 2014

Core required: 17 of 17

Menu required: 3 of 6

Stage 3

Begins TBD

Core set requirements: TBD

Menu set requirements: TBD

What is an "Eligible Professional"?

Providers will need to meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for the Medicare and Medicaid incentives. It’s important to know that incentive payments for eligible professionals are based on individual practitioners. If a profession is part of a practice, each eligible professional may qualify for an incentive payment if each eligible professional successfully demonstrates meaningful use using a certified EHR technology. Each eligible professional is only eligible for one incentive payment per year, regardless of how many practices or locations at which he or she provides services.


Hospital-based eligible professionals are not eligible for the incentive payments.


Medicare and Medicaid each have their own definitions of what they consider an eligible professional for their separate incentive programs. Eligible professionals that are eligible for both programs must choose which incentive program they wish to participate and register; however, the eligible professional may switch programs only one time after the first incentive payment is initiated.


How does a practice register and report?

Registration for the meaningful use incentives through Medicare and Medicaid began in January 2011. Eligible professionals will need to register online at CMS’s website. The CMS website will not only be used for registration, but for the attestation process as well. Eligible professionals may begin the attestation process starting in April 2011. Before a practice can proceed with the attestation process, CMS’s portion of their website dedicated to this process will prompt the user for a certification number. This certification number is what the practice will use to communicate to CMS which certified EHR vendor is being used in order to accomplish meaningful use objectives.