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Crossing the Meaningful Use Finish Line: Stage 1 Results

by Jasmine Gee, Director of Product Marketing

Well, it has come and gone. The Feb. 29 deadline to attest to 2011 Stage 1 Meaningful Use (MU) is now behind us and we’ve already shifted our focus to the new class of 2012 MU-ers, Stage 2 Meaningful Use and beyond.

But Year One MU and the final push to attest to Stage 1 measures, did not pass without some last-minute heroics from some of our dedicated teams, especially those in Account Management and MUES (Meaningful Use Enrollment Services).

You may recall our MUES crew: In late September, we shared how, early in the Meaningful Use experience, we realized our need for a pretty robust support system to get our clients their Meaningful Use dollars. Given our co-sourcing model, this was a no-brainer. But it would not come without some deliberate effort.

And so the MUES Team of eight athenistas was formed to handle all the attestations, by proxy, for clients. Before long, the team was in contact with their counterparts at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) so often they were (and still are) on a first-name basis.

They gained ninja-like expertise.

Last-Minute Assistance

Then, on February 24, with less than a week until the attestation deadline, one of our larger clients had 17 doctors shy of the finish line. A plan was laid out and folks here stayed on-call over the weekend.

Most of those 17 doctors sailed through and were on their way to getting their Medicare MU incentive checks. But at 9:11 a.m. on Deadline Day, two doctors still had not crossed the finish line.

At 1:46 p.m. that afternoon, the client’s account manager sent out an email thanking the MUES Team with these words: “LATE BREAKING ATTESTATION! I really love my client and the excitement they add to my life…”

Those last two doctors had made it. But that was not all for our busy deadline day.

At another practice, there was a single physician who still needed us to register and attest on his behalf—one day before the attestation deadline. Our account manager called the practice to provide instructions for accepting our proxy request, but the doctor had problems logging in. The proxy request was finally approved at 2:30 p.m. on Deadline Day, and registration and attestation were completed at 4 a.m. on March 1… with just two hours to spare!

So, that’s what we were doing up to the final hours: Getting our doctors paid.

And with that, we can say that our final 2011 Stage 1 Medicare MU attestation rate is 85%. We are really proud of this number, especially knowing all the dedication and work it took by the MUES Team and many others.

What’s Next?

We feel this experience sets us up well for Stage 2. We learned a lot and feel good about the base of knowledge we’ve built moving forward.

But we are still curious to know: How did others in the industry fare for Stage 1? Can anyone else claim a rate like our 85%? We’d like to know.

Now we all wait for CMS to release its 2011 MU data and we expect to see something in early April when the HIT Policy Committee meets. Stay tuned. And be sure to share your Stage 1 experiences with us right here.

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