Two weeks have passed since we released the latest data from our Meaningful Use Dashboard. In the interim our news has gotten noticeably better. Check out the updated dashboard here. While we show progress on providing clinical summaries and other measures, we can also say this week that a whopping 28% of our eligible doctors have attested to Stage 1 Medicare Meaningful Use. This update reveals an eleven point jump from our last look and we’re pretty darn pleased to see our work paying off.
Last spring when we first piloted the attestation process, we wanted to see exactly what doctors would have to endure to prove to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that they deserved an incentive check—putting ourselves right “where the rubber meets the road.” We knew that achieving the measures would try the patience of some doctors but what about proving to the federal government that they should be paid for their efforts?
It quickly became clear that by serving as proxies and completing the attestation process for our clients, we would be able to assume more work, increase process integrity for our clients and be 100% sure that incentive checks were on the way. Once we ran the betas, our early suspicions were confirmed and we decided to dive in. For providers, attesting could be a giant hassle. For us, it was a no-brainer.
The Meaningful Use Enrollment Services (MUES) Team was formed to handle all the attestations for clients. There are eight athenistas on the team and each one’s in contact with CMS so often they’re on a first name basis with counterparts there. At this point, they arguably know more about the CMS Meaningful Use process than anyone else in the country. And the MUES Team has so much experience dealing with CMS for payer enrollment they’ve been able to pounce on problems others probably wouldn’t see as fast.
Now that the MUES Team has done a few hundred attestations, they’ve honed the process pretty well. Once a provider grants them proxy access to attest to Meaningful Use, all the steps that can take over 2 hours of submitting data on the CMS website is done seamlessly and efficiently by the MUES Team.
Practices on the path to Meaningful Use have noticed the difference when athenahealth takes the wheel during attestation. If they know they are achieving Meaningful Use with us, they will get paid. We will make sure they are all complete with CMS, and we track their payment and post it for them.
Kerin Joyce is the director of Practice Operations and EHR for Mount Auburn Professional Services in Cambridge, Mass. Eighteen physicians at Mount Auburn hospital will be attesting to Meaningful Use this year with the help of athenahealth’s combination of software, knowledge and service.
“Because we were looking at the Pay-for-Performance dashboard regularly, and our physicians and our office managers were as well, as soon as we were ready to attest, the dashboard would tell us we’re ready to attest,” she says. “And from there our EHR associate would go into the practice and work with the physician to get the proxy number. And then we left it in athena’s hands to submit the data on our behalf and go through the attestation process. We were confident that the information in there was accurate, and that they would follow through with the process.”
We’ve received a lot of great feedback on our dashboard so far. What do you think? Send a comment to the blog and tell us what it was like to attest to Meaningful Use, if you got paid and whether you feel the process has been good, bad or ugly. In the meantime, stay tuned for our next data release two weeks from now.
September 28, 2011