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Meaningful Use Challenges Detailed

Greg Freeman, December 13, 2011
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The Wellmont CVA Heart Institute in Kingsport, TN, discovered that it didn’t have to wait as long as expected to attest, says Director of IT Jack Sunderman. Wellmont was using the NextGen EHR and switched to the certified version of its software in January 2011. Thinking it had to be on the certified version for 90 days before attesting, Wellmont was going to delay attestation until a few weeks after the April opening.

“But we found out from CMS that you just have to be on the certified version when you attest,” Sunderman says. “You don’t have to have been on the certified version for the whole 90-day period that you’re attesting to. If you have the data and you’re on the certified version now, you can attest.”
After-visit summaries proved to be an obstacle for Wellmont, particularly the requirement of a summarization of the discussion between the doctor and the patient.

“That was probably the most difficult part for us because it was another step the doctor had to take, and of course we all know how much free time a doctor has,” Sunderman says. “But it has to be done.”
Providers seeking meaningful use attestation should start running reports from their EHR systems as soon as possible, Sunderman says. The reports will indicate what metrics need the most attention and will track your progress, he says. Sunderman also recommends registering for the attestation portal right away, even if it will be a while before you attest.

“You have to know the doctor’s log-in and password for the CMS site, and I can tell you that none of my 33 providers knew theirs,” Sunderman says. “So it takes some time to get those passwords reset. CMS wants to talk to the doctor, verify place of birth, Social Security number, and a few other pieces of information before they will reset the password.”

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