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How the New Meaningful Use Program Affects Hospitals and Healthcare Providers

Posted By Giovanna Stahl
medical billing and coding services

Meaningful Use is defined by the use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology in a meaningful manner, ensuring that the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that ultimately improved the quality of care. This concept of meaningful use was enacted with the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) in February of 2009; an effort led by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). There have been several updates to the rules surrounding meaningful use since it was made a priority by CMS nearly 10 years ago, but the most recent announcement in April has a large effect on how hospitals and other providers process health information.

Starting in 2019, hospitals will be required to have a patient’s electronic health records available on the day they leave the hospital, as well as better access to price information. Further, some regulatory burdens on hospitals will also be lifted. The new rules are meant to promote better interoperability between providers and patients. At ECLAT, we embrace the EMR technology and include meaningful use concepts in our ongoing Revenue Cycle training program. Ensuring the abstracting and coding information is accurate, timely, and complete is essential to meeting meaningful use strategies. While this announcement is exciting for patients, allowing for more price and information transparency, the new rules beg the question: how does this affect hospitals and healthcare providers?

  1. Reduces Unnecessary Redundancies

Hospitals spend billions every year on administrative duties related to regulatory compliance, totaling $39 billion according to the American Hospital Association. Fortunately, CMS eliminated 25 total measures that will save hospitals over 2 million hours of work. Additionally, the quality measurement will be more streamlined as a significant number of criteria acute care hospitals are currently required to report on will be eliminated.  The lift on these regulations will better assist with the receipt and exchange of documents among systems, which inherently allows medical coding companies like ECLAT to close accounts faster and enhance clinical documentation for more accurate reimbursement. In short, it removes unnecessary and redundant measures from a number of programs, ultimately saving hospitals time and money.

  1. Challenging ‘One Size Fits All’ Pricing Approach

While hospitals are welcoming reduced regulation with open arms, many are concerned by the CMS rule requiring them to post their prices. The goal of this is to promote more effective price transparency for patients, however, what individuals pay varies greatly depending on their insurance coverage. Nevertheless, this price transparency is meant to ultimately offer the best value to patients, where they reap the benefits associated with more choices and thus better health outcomes.

  1. Emphasizes Need for Accurate RCM, Medical Coding, and Billing

Hospitals also now must make their patients’ EHR data available upon the day of discharge, which means hospitals must incorporate up-to-date technologies and processes to make this happen. This involved using up-to-date EHR technology beginning in 2019 in order to qualify for incentive payments and avoid Medicare payment reductions. On top of this, it’s essential for hospitals and providers to ensure their revenue cycle management, coding, and billing processes evolve with these new rules to ensure continued accuracy.

These new rules announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services mark an interesting transition in healthcare information management, and while some of the rules require challenges for hospitals and other healthcare providers, these changes hope to ultimately improve efficiency, transparency, and accuracy. In these ever-changing times of healthcare regulation, it’s also important to have a revenue cycle management partner to help you keep up. Contact ECLAT Health Solutions today to learn more about our services, and how we can help hospitals save time and money with our 95% accuracy or greater guarantee.

Tags: Coding, Medical Coding, News