News Brief

Meaningful use quality requirements clarified

New regulations always bring with them their share of questions and confusion, but perhaps none in recent memory have raised as many questions as those governing "meaningful use." In an effort to clear up some of that confusion, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted a FAQ that addresses "attestation statements" providers are required to concur with if they are to show meaningful use of electronic health records, and thus qualify to receive an incentive payment.

So, for example, facilities have to attest that the information they submitted for 15 clinical quality measures was generated by "certified" EHR technology and that the information is "accurate and complete for numerators, denominators, exclusions, and measures."

Here is an excerpt from the FAQ that outlines the attestations to which an eligible professional, eligible hospital, or critical access hospital must agree in order to successfully demonstrate meaningful use:

  • The information submitted for clinical quality measures (CQMs) was generated as output from an identified certified EHR technology.
  • The information submitted is accurate to the knowledge and belief of the EP (Eligible Professional) or the person submitting on behalf of the EP, eligible hospital, or CAH (Critical Access Hospital).
  • The information submitted is accurate and complete for numerators, denominators, exclusions, and measures applicable to the EP, eligible hospital, or CAH.
  • The information submitted includes information on all patients to whom the measure applies.

The FAQ goes on to explain that with the exception of CQMs, "meaningful use measures do not specify that this capability must be used to calculate the numerators and denominators. EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs can use a separate, uncertified system to calculate numerators and denominators and to generate reports on all measures of the core and menu set meaningful use objectives except CQMs."

In addition, according to the FAQ, "In order to provide complete and accurate information for certain of these measures, they may also have to include information from paper-based patient records or from records maintained in uncertified EHR technology."

The entire FAQ can be found at: http://questions.cms.hhs.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/10589.