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June 16, 2015

Meaningful Use Stage 3: What does it mean for nephrologists?

This post is by Mark Kaplan, M.D., vice president of medical affairs for DaVita Kidney Care

For many in the throes of demonstrating for CMS’ Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 requirements, it may be too overwhelming to even consider what Stage 3 has in store. CMS released the Stage 3 Proposed Rules on March 20, and while 301 pages may seem long, it is sparse compared to previous rules.

There are eight objectives to meet for Stage 3, some which have multiple measures associated with them. For example, the CPOE objective requires meeting measures related to Lab Order Entry, Medication Order Entry, and Diagnostic Imaging Order Entry. Some objectives allow for meeting only two of the three measures, providing at least a semblance of flexibility.

At a glance: Stage 3 Objectives

  1. Protect Patient Health Information
  2. Electronic Prescribing (eRx)
  3. Clinical Decision Support (CDS)
  4. Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
  5. Patient Electronic Access to Health Information
  6. Coordination of Care through Patient Engagement
  7. Health Information Exchange (HIE)
  8. Public Health and Clinical Data Registry Reporting

Not surprisingly “payment adjustments,” (the CMS term for penalty), are still being enforced. Not attesting to MU in 2015 will cause 2017 to sting, as you’ll be receiving a 3% reduction in your Medicare Part B billings: 3% translates to roughly $7,000 for the average nephrologist.

Audits are another fact of life, with 5-10% of providers being subject to audit with failure rates are somewhere between 21-24%. Failing to pass an audit means giving CMS back any incentive dollars received.

As interpreting the objectives of, and meeting the requirements for, Meaningful Use become more important for the financial health of your practice, you need a vendor who understands this. It’s more important than ever to find a vendor who works with you like a partner.

Mark R. Kaplan, M.D., previously practiced nephrology in Nashville, Tennessee, where he launched and developed the practice’s clinical research program. He served as the vice president of clinical research at Renal Care Group and Fresenius Medical Care, and was chief medical officer at DSI Renal, Inc. before joining DaVita Kidney Care. Dr. Kaplan earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University, and then completed a year as chief resident in internal medicine at the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and a clinical and research fellowship in nephrology and hypertension at Harvard University Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

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