February 2014 Client Newsletter
February 1, 2014
SLOW CASH FLOW JANUARY - FEBRUARY
Just a reminder that due to the many deductibles that have to be met early in the year, cash flow slows in January & February. This has applied to Medicare patients for many years, of course, but this year will affect more patients than ever. Before Obamacare started January 1st, we have seen estimates of 30+% of all plans being written are now high deductible health plans of $1,000 -$5,000 per individual, with family deductibles twice that. With the new Obamacare care plans and their high deductibles, that adds to the slowdown. Be sure to collect co-pays in the office before the patient sees the provider.
REMINDER – MEDICARE EHR ATTESTATION
In case you missed it in other publications, if you want to attest for Medicare EHR Meaningful Use for 2013 it must be done by 11:59 PM on February 28, 2014 to receive an incentive payment for your 2013 participation and avoid a negative payment adjustment. Those who do not attest for 2013 will see a negative 1% adjustment starting 1/1/15. The adjustment goes to 2% in 2016 and 3% in 2017 and beyond.
About half of our clients have now decided how they will handle ICD-10 implementation and we are preparing accordingly. If we have not already done so, we will be contacting you before the end of February to get started.
On the financial side, experts are strongly recommending providers build up a cash reserve early in the year so it is available in October and later in case insurers are not able to process payments correctly. Now would be a good time to contact your bank to establish a Line of Credit. CPB software is ready and we will be testing with Medicare March 3-7. Staff training continues. We anticipate finishing our preparations by June 1. If the insurers do what they should, this will not be much of a problem.
WHEN AND HOW LONG TO ATTEST TO MEANINGFUL USE IN 2014
You only need to do 3 months of Meaningful Use in 2014: CMS is permitting a one-time 3-month reporting period in 2014 FOR ALL providers (whether Stage 1 or Stage 2) only so that all providers who must upgrade to 2014 Certified EHR Technology will have adequate time. Note that Medicare providers will need to choose a calendar quarter as their 3 month period. Medicaid providers can choose any 3 month period. Even if you are doing Stage 1 in 2014, your EHR still has to be Stage 2/2014 certified.
One of the Stage 2 requirements is to provide secure provider-to-provider communication to easily import and export patient information to and from other providers using the national DIRECT system regardless of the EHR that other providers use.
A patient’s decision to pay their healthcare bill is frequently related to their ability to understand what they owe. If patients are confused about their insurance, particularly their deductibles, be sure to explain it to them or have them call our office.
LAST CHANCE FOR MEDICARE EHR INCENTIVES
If you wait until 2015 to start with an EHR, you will miss out on all of the available incentive payments! Beginning in 2015, Medicare eligible professionals who do not successfully demonstrate meaningful use will be subject to a payment adjustment. The payment reduction starts at 1% and increases each year that a Medicare eligible professional does not demonstrate meaningful use until it reaches 5%.
DIDN’T PARTICIPATE IN ERX IN 2012 OR 2013? (FROM CMS 1/9/14)
If you were not a successful electronic prescriber under the 2012 or 2013 Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program:
• You will be subject to a payment adjustment in 2014.
• The final 2.0% eRx payment adjustment will be applied during the 2014 calendar year.
That means you will only receive 98% of your Medicare Part B PFS amount for covered professional service in 2014. CMS will notify you if you are subject to the 2014 eRx payment adjustment.
Medicare EHR Payment Adjustments
If you are eligible to participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program:
• If you have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use, payment adjustments will be applied beginning January 1, 2015.
• The adjustment is determined by the reporting period in a prior year.
Additional eRx Impact for Medicare EHR providers with a 2015 Payment Adjustment
• If you were not subject to the 2014 eRx payment adjustment, your 2015 EHR payment adjustment will be 1%.
• If you were subject to the eRx adjustment, your 2015 EHR payment adjustment will be 2%.
To Avoid Medicare Payment Adjustments
If you successfully participated in the Medicaid or Medicare EHR Incentive Program and demonstrate meaningful use before 2015 or if you are eligible for a hardship exemption, you may be able to avoid the payment adjustment. Note: If you are eligible to participate in both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, you must demonstrate meaningful use to avoid the payment adjustments. You may demonstrate meaningful use under either Medicare or Medicaid. Learn more by reviewing the Payment Adjustments & Hardship Exceptions Tipsheet for Eligible Professionals.
Request an eRx Informal Review
You can request an informal review if you were notified that you will be subject to the 2014 eRx payment adjustment. Informal review requests can be submitted to eRxInformalReview@cms.hhs.gov through February 28, 2014.