Double credit initiative proposed by CMS for stage two attestation

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Physicians and healthcare providers attesting to stage two of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use federal financial incentive may also be awarded credit toward the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), according to Information Week.

As well as potentially providing physicians with additional financial incentives for meeting stage two medical informatics usage requirements, the proposals are designed to increase the flexibility in which care providers can use technology to improve the quality of patient care.

Physicians will have to demonstrate usage of 12 clinical quality measures from a list of around 105. Healthcare providers will be able to follow similar attestation procedures as stage one by selecting one of five clinical practice areas in which to demonstrate meaningful use, or achieve 11 core modules in addition to an optional module from a menu of choices.

In order for physicians to remain eligible for the dual payment initiative, doctors must ensure their medical informatics systems are compliant with both the CMS’ meaningful use program and PQRS attestation requirements.

The proposals were made by Maria Michaels, an insurance specialist for the CMS, at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas. Michaels’ announcement was well received by healthcare IT professionals in attendance. The proposed dual payment initiative could simplify the process of attesting to PQRS, a procedure that has been criticized for the complexity of its reporting requirements in the past.

“Although we’re supportive of many of the proposed changes, we have serious concerns about the complexity and overhead of reporting discrete patient-level data for quality measures, rather than summary data, as is the case today,” Mark Segal, a member of the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association’s executive committee, said in a statement last year.