Although the October 2014 deadline for meaningful use Stage 2 is still nearly a year away, chiropractic practices have been rushing to ensure their chiropractic EHR will be up to date in time. The reasons why are clear: Aside from the obvious benefits of greater efficiency that will be offered by improved online health records, practitioners who exhibit meaningful use in their chiropractic EMR software by next October will be eligible to receive upwards of $44,000 in extra Medicare and Medicaid payments. Conversely, professionals who haven't met these requirements by the deadline may begin incurring penalties effective 2015.
While there are chiropractic software programs available to help bring a practice's EHR up to meaningful use standards, the time and effort required to invest in those programs and make the necessary changes – all while continuing to run a medical practice without interruption – have put many in a time crunch. Because of this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing to delay certain parts of meaningful use, giving practices more time to catch up.
Under the new timeline, HHS will give physicians until 2016 to complete Stage 2 and 2017 for Stage 3, provided they had already finished two years of Stage 2 beforehand.
"The goal of this change is twofold: first, to allow [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] and [the Office of the National Coordinator] to focus efforts on the successful implementation of the enhanced patient engagement, interoperability and health information exchange requirements in Stage 2," wrote CMS Director Robert Tagalicod and Acting National Coordinator Jacob Reider. "[And] second, to utilize data from Stage 2 participation to inform policy decisions for Stage 3."
Whether the proposal is approved or not, though, there's still more than enough time to invest in the best chiropractic EHR software available and bring your patients' care into the 21st century.