CMS Meaningful Use Program: It is Better to Attest and Fail, Than to Never Attest At All?

The AOA has received reports from doctors who are attempting to participate in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Meaningful Use program, but are facing difficulties meeting certain reporting requirements, such as the patient portal objective.  Some optometrists have contacted the AOA asking whether they should proceed with attesting even if they believe they will not meet all of the required CMS thresholds and objectives.  Knowing that CMS has indicated that the agency plans to issue rulemaking later this year that is "intended to be responsive to provider concerns about software implementation, information exchange readiness, and other related concerns," it may be beneficial to attest even if you believe that you may not meet all of the CMS program requirements.  CMS officials have recently noted their desire not to penalize doctors who actively attempt to engage in the program.  By attempting to attest to meaningful use for the 2014 reporting year, doctors show a good faith effort to participate in the program which may bring relief from future penalties in 2016.  CMS will conduct official rulemaking later this year that will implement changes to the Meaningful Use program and until that time we will not know all the specifics regarding how the program will be revamped.   The rulemaking this year will mostly affect 2015 reporting, but AOA will argue for all those who try to attest to be exempt from penalties.  The AOA understands that the attestation process can be time consuming, but the factors noted above may be worth considering as optometrists decide how best to proceed before the attestation deadline.  For the 2014 reporting year, doctors have until March 20 to attest.   If you have questions please contact Kara Webb at kcwebb@aoa.org