Prepare now for health IT milestones in 2014

Health insurance market reforms will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, but that's not the only important coming milestone. The year also will include landmark events in the federal government's eHealth Initiative. This $26 billion, multiyear effort will establish a nationwide electronic health information technology (HIT) system.

For optometrists, becoming an integral part of the nation's emerging e-health system is essential, according to AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D.

"Optometrists must meet all pertinent e-health deadlines over the coming months."

"America is transitioning to a health care system heavily focused on primary and preventive care," Dr. Munson said. "Optometrists have the potential to play a key role in the nation's transformed health care system, but only if they become part of the e-health systems that will support it. That means optometrists must meet all pertinent e-health deadlines over the coming months.

"Below are important dates, plus links to resources, tools, and information to help optometrists prepare for e-health implementation in 2014 and beyond.

Jan. 1, 2014

Medicare electronic funds transfer: Administrative Simplification operating rules for electronic funds transfers (EFT) and remittance advice go into effect.

Medicare and Medicare EHR programs: Eligible professionals (EP) will begin Stage 2 with their third or fourth year of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. Learn more from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and AOAExcelTM. Stage 2 Meaningful Use requires EHR interconnectivity. Optometrists are encouraged to consult AOAExcelTM for information on the OcuHubTM EHR interconnectivity network.

Medicare practitioners in their second year or beyond of demonstrating meaningful use need to electronically report their clinical quality measures (CQMs) for the full calendar year of 2014 (Jan, 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014). Practitioners will then submit their CQM data during a two-month reporting period from Jan. 1, 2015, to Feb. 28, 2015.

Medicare e-Prescribing (e-Rx) Program: To be considered a successful electronic prescriber for the 2013 e-Rx Incentive Program, and potentially qualify for a 0.5 percent incentive payment, an individual EP must have reported the e-Rx measure for at least 25 unique electronic prescribing events in which the measure is reportable during 2013. Learn more from the CMS or AOAExcelTM.

Feb. 28, 2014

Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS): Practitioners must submit their calendar year 2013 data to receive a Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) incentive payment for 2013 by this date. It is also the last day for Medicare EPs participating in the Electronic Reporting Pilot to submit quality data to satisfy both PQRS and CQM requirements of the EHR Incentive Program. Learn more from AOAExcelTM.

EHR attestation: This is also the deadline for practitioners to register and attest to demonstrating meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to receive an incentive payment for the 2013 reporting year. Medicaid registration and attestation deadlines may differ by state.

Oct. 1, 2014

ICD-10: This is the official transition date from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes for diagnoses in health care practices and all other health care settings, as well as for procedures in hospital inpatient settings. Step-by-step CMS resources can help practitioners make sure they are prepared for the transition.

EHR meaningful use: This is the last day for practitioners who have not yet participated in the Medicare EHR Incentive program to begin their 90 days of meaningful use in 2014. Medicare practitioners will not be able to earn incentives for participation in the program after this date and will be subject to payment adjustments. Payment adjustments start at 1 percent and are cumulative for every year an EP does not participate.

Nov. 5, 2014

Health Plan Identifier: This is the deadline for large health plans to obtain a Health Plan Identifier (HPID). Small health plans have until Nov. 5, 2015.

Stay up to date

The CMS frequently updates the information available to health care practitioners on its e-health programs. Changes in e-health program rules, regulations, criteria or deadlines are possible, too, the AOA Advocacy Group noted.

To stay up to date and meet deadlines, get resources from AOAExcelTM, read AOA News and follow the AOA on Twitter (@AOANews and @AOAConnect).

September 10, 2013

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