What’s Next for 2017

With all the changes going in healthcare legislation over the past few years, it is easy to get confused. Some providers have been using their EHR over the past few years to earn incentives and others are preparing to be hit with reimbursement deductions. Now you should be asking, what’s next for 2017?

Regardless of when you start- or tried to start- eligible providers can report either Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3 in 2017. Providers reporting Stage 2 must report a full year of data and those attempting Stage 3 early only should report 90 days of data. Only having to report 90 days is the reward for being at the cutting edge of Meaningful Use reporting. The catch to reporting Stage 3 is ensuring your EHR capable of tracking and reporting the required measures while also having the interoperability with other EHRs. Providers that do not have operability to complete Stage 3 must be working towards the Modified Stage 2 measures.

It is worth mentioning that providers that are just starting to receive payments from Medicare / Medicaid start in Stage 1, but will not have the eligibility of incentives for Medicare. EHR incentives for Medicaid can potentially be earned by providers as late as 2021.

Eligible providers will also be working towards what has been made available to meet MACRA requirements. As with the rollout of Meaningful Use, it will be easier to get started as early as January 1, 2017 than later in the year or program. To meet MACRA (as it applies to providers) is either MIPS (merit-based) or APM (advanced alternative). An easy way to think about either is a more applicable, specific PQRS.

Providers in 2017 and beyond need to be using their EHRs meaningful and working to track and improve patient outcomes. More details are coming out about these programs, but more requirements (and potentially more reimbursements) are planned for the APM track.

CMS’s time table for MACRA extends as far as 2026, like how they planned Meaningful Use through 2021. One thing is for certain – more details and rulings are in the pipeline, and providers best chance at meeting the new requirements placed on them is to use quality EHRs to the best of their ability.


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