No fooling: April brings lots of changes

This year, the end of March brings a lot more than just a weather-related lion or lamb for optometrists. Here's a handy compilation of all the changes taking effect now:

March 31

This is the last day for optometrists and other providers to attest to meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology, submit their data and qualify for a 2013 incentive payment, while avoiding a payment adjustment in 2015. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had previously extended the deadline from Feb. 28 to March 31.

The extension applies only to the 2013 reporting year for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. It does not apply to deadlines for other programs, including the Medicaid EHR Incentive program or the Physician Quality Reporting System EHR Incentive Program Pilot. READ MORE

April 1

This is the first day that use of the revised CMS 1500 claim form will be a requirement of CMS. The changeover is part of the coming transition to ICD-10. The new CMS 1500 claim forms are available for purchase online through the AOA Marketplace or by calling 800-262-2210. READ MORE

April 1

This is the last day for all-member access to the new Brain Injury Electronic Resource Manual (BIERM) developed by the AOA's Vision Rehabilitation Section. It is a comprehensive resource to aid optometrists in evaluating patients with brain injury. From Feb. 3 until April 1, the manual will be available to all AOA members online. After that initial period, the manual—and follow-up volumes in development—will be available to those who join the Vision Rehabilitation SectionREAD MORE

April 8

As of this date, Microsoft will no longer provide the free security updates for Windows XP that protect your computer from malicious software (malware). If your practice accesses sensitive electronic Protected Health Information (e-PHI) on computers running Windows XP after the support end-date, that information could be at risk of being compromised and therefore might not be in compliance with HIPAA.

Windows XP operating computers will still function after the end of support date, though Microsoft advises users that these computers should not be considered protected. Optometry practices using Windows XP must perform a risk analysis and evaluate the potential for cyber-attacks that could access or corrupt e-PHI.

The AOA Washington Office suggests weighing the benefits of upgrading to a newer, supported Windows OS, and speaking with your diagnostic equipment vendors about plans to upgrade the OS in machines operating Windows XP. READ MORE

March 24, 2014

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