By Christine Kern, contributing writer
CMS raw data shows majority of Medicare MU early adopters attested for 2011-2013
HealthDataManagement has reported the latest CMS estimates show that about 85 percent of Medicare Meaningful Use early adopters have successfully attested for 2011, 2012 and 2013. Released at the recent Health IT Policy Committee meeting, the "very raw, gross" numbers of eligible professionals are based on data from the 2013 attestation period which ended on March 31.
Elisabeth Myers of the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services cautioned, "I do want to put out a caveat that this is estimated data.” At an April 8 Health IT Policy Committee meeting, she said, "We have not run all of the cross checks with all of the various systems. We have not received the Medicaid reports from all of the states. So, these are just the very beginning, very raw gross data pushed out of the system."
According to Myers, a total of 224,000 eligible professionals attested to MU for the Medicare EHR incentive program in 2013, including approximately 63,000 first-year attesters (all eligible professionals for the Medicare program), 114,000 second-year attesters, and just shy of 47,000 third year attesters (returning early adopters).
Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT representative Jennifer King explained that the "vast majority of eligible providers have attested to Stage 1 so far, especially on the hospital side and also over half of eligible professionals."
When asked how many hospitals as of February had attested to Stage 2, King replied there were a couple of hospitals that were in progress. When pressed to answer whether Stage 2 was off to a positive start, Myers replied, "We have no way of knowing that." She was challenged by HIT Policy Committee member Paul Egerman, who said it was his understanding that "even now, half way through the year, less than 20 hospitals have attested."
Myers cited hospital concerns about the availability of 2014 software from vendors, and while she deferred, saying "I'm not putting fault on vendors necessarily," Myers explained, "It's the software's availability and availability to implement. It does take time."
Myers defended MU Stage 2 progress, stating that CMS data shows that 94 percent of eligible hospitals have registered for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program and, significantly, for the first time more than 90 percent of eligible hospitals have been paid through the program.
Further, 56 percent of eligible professionals are registered for the Medicare program and 28 percent are registered for the Medicaid program. Of those, forty-two percent of Medicare eligible professionals and 21 percent of Medicaid eligible professionals have been paid. About 15 percent of eligible professionals have not registered for either program.
In February, CMS added 9,387 registrants to the EHR incentive program, for a total of 458,137 eligible provider registrants. The total number of eligible provider registrants includes 302,244 Medicare eligible professionals, 151,182 Medicaid eligible professionals, and 4,711 eligible hospitals, Myers said.