ODs: Stay connected to CMS for updates

ODs: Stay connected to CMS for updates

Federal health IT programs. Quality resource use reports. Electronic health record penalties. All are good reasons for ODs to stay connected to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for updates.

It's important for ODs to keep track of regulatory issues, "as they could have a major effect on their practice."

It's important for ODs to keep track of regulatory issues, "as they could have a major effect on their practice," says Roger Jordan, O.D., chair of the AOA's Federal Relations Committee.

ODs have the opportunity to sign up for several upcoming conference calls that may be of interest to the profession:

Oct. 23: CMS will provide an overview of the 2013 Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRUR) it made available on Sept. 30. QRURs provide comparative information so that physicians can view examples of the clinical care their patients receive in relation to the average care and costs of other physicians' Medicare patients. It is important for ODs to access this information so that they can better understand how the Value-based Payment Modifier program may impact their Medicare payments in future years. Authorized group representatives and solo practitioners can access these reports using a valid user ID and password.

Oct. 30: The call will discuss a final rule issued this past summer that offers slightly more flexibility in achieving meaningful use requirements for 2014's reporting period. In addition to this rulemaking, CMS recently extended until Nov. 30 the deadline for hardship exemption requests for doctors and hospitals that weren't able to attest to meaningful use of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology in 2014—and will face penalties in 2015.

Nov. 5: Transitioning to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code set is the subject of this final provider call. ODs and other providers have one year to transition to this new coding system.

Calls provide useful updates 
Doctors who participate in these CMS conference calls can get useful updates, such as the dates to test software for compatibility, Dr. Jordan says.

ICD-10, less than year away, will require a lot of work for both staff and the OD to implement. For those using EHRs and participating in meaningful use programs, "There is a need to keep up with the current status and changes to the program to allow you to qualify for incentive payments," he says.

AOA also wants to remind its members of CMS' fingerprinting requirement, which was implemented earlier this year. According to Dr. Jordan, this won't affect all ODs, but those new to the program should be aware of its requirements to participate and the short, 30-day compliance timelines.

ODs who want to keep up with CMS news can subscribe to the agency's various e-news announcements.

October 17, 2014

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