This is the last year (2014) that Eligible Professionals (EPs) can start participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to receive incentive payments. EPs who begin participation in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program after 2014, will not be able to earn an incentive payment for that year or any subsequent year of participation. If you choose to participate in the program for the first time in 2014, you should begin your 90-day reporting period no later than July 1, 2014 and submit attestation by October 1, 2014 to avoid the payment adjustment in 2015. Read more.
If you were unable to successfully demonstrate meaningful use for 2013 due to circumstances beyond your control, CMS is accepting applications for hardship exceptions to avoid the penalty for the 2013 reporting year. Applications for individual eligible professionals and eligible professionals submitting multiple NPIs are available. CMS will review the application to determine whether or not you are granted a hardship exception. Applications for the 2015 penalty are due July 1, 2014. If approved, the exception is valid for one year. Use CMS’ new interactive tool for eligible professionals to help determine if you will avoid the penalty by demonstrating meaningful use. Tipsheets are available on the CMS website. Use this timeline to determine which year you will demonstrate Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 of meaningful use.
CMS and the ONC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) allowing providers participating in the EHR Incentive Programs to use the 2011 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for calendar and fiscal year 2014 and extending Stage 2. Read more.
The Overdose Prevention Act, which is meant to reduce overdose related deaths by encouraging victims and witnesses of overdose to obtain medical care without criminal or civil liability, supports distribution of Naloxone to those considered at risk for opioid overdose, as well as to their friends, family, or first responders. The Act allows physicians to prescribe Naloxone with civil, criminal, and professional disciplinary immunity.
The NJ Board of Medical Examiners (BME) recently approved a regulatory proposal that explains physician rights and responsibilities under the Act. The BME issued a Certificate of Waiver to all licensed physicians in order to expedite operation of the Act, while the proposed rules are promulgated. The waiver explains that physicians may issue Naloxone prescriptions to family, friends, or first responders without requiring examination or follow-up of the at risk individual.
Sunshine Act: Payment Data to be Published September 30; MSNJ Objects to Timing & Dispute Resolution Process
The Sunshine Act requires that transfers of value in the amount of $10 or more from the pharmaceutical industry to physicians be tracked and reported by the industry in a database that will soon be made public. MSNJ supports transparency but has a long history of objecting to this requirement believing that the administrative burden on physicians of tracking and verifying the di minimis value of a lunch outweighs the usefulness of this reported data to the public. MSNJ’s delegation to the AMA will advocate that the threshold reporting amount be increased to $100 at the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago this week. Meanwhile, implementation of the program dubbed the “Open Payments Program” continues:
- Step 1: Beginning June 1 physicians were able to register in CMS’s Enterprise Portal;
- Step 2: Beginning in July physicians must take the second registration step to register in the Open Payments system (via the CMS Enterprise Portal)
- Step 3: Once the information is available, physicians will have a 45 day period to review and dispute the payment information
- Step 4: On September 30 the public will be granted access to the database.
Physicians will only have 45 days to review and to attempt correction of any reporting errors. Under the final rule on plan implementation, physicians and the industry would then have an additional 15 days to resolve disputes or the payment at issue would be flagged as “disputed.” However, CMS and the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) have proposed that industry be allowed to unilaterally dismiss physician disputes; the payment amounts at issue would be reported without a dispute flag. MSNJ objects to the proposal that would allow industry to unilaterally dismiss a dispute. On June 2 MSNJ filed comments with CMS asserting that the proposal contradicts the final implementation rule and violates physicians’ due process rights. We further urged CMS to delay release of the database to the public for at least six months to give physicians more time review the reported payments.
Physicians are urged to take the above two registration steps and to begin reviewing payments attributed to them as soon as possible. This will be a challenge because physicians will be seeing this data for the first time. Physicians are urged to participate in CMS’s webinar on June 12 that will further explain the process. Register online. MSNJ has developed a webinar with Jennifer Searfoss, Esq., a nationally recognized healthcare attorney and practice management consultant, who will describe the program, and its pitfalls, on June 19. Register online.
View more resources on Open Payments.