The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has updated two new frequently asked questions about the electronic health records meaningful use program. They cover incentive payments affected by the budget sequestration and how providers should handle attestation when they switch EHR vendors during the program year:

Question: Will incentive payments earned in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive programs be affected by sequestration?

Answer: Incentive payments made through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program are subject to the mandatory reductions in federal spending known as sequestration, required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 postponed sequestration for 2 months.  As required by law, President Obama issued a sequestration order on March 1, 2013. Under these mandatory reductions, Medicare EHR incentive payments made to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals will be reduced by 2%. This 2% reduction will be applied to any Medicare EHR incentive payment for a reporting period that ends on or after April 1, 2013. If the final day of the reporting period occurs before April 1, 2013, those incentive payments will not be subject to the reduction. Please note that this reduction does not apply to Medicaid EHR incentive payments, which are exempt from the mandatory reductions. (FAQ8173)

Question: For the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, how should an eligible professional (EP), eligible hospital, or critical access hospital (CAH) attest if the certified EHR vendor being used is switched to another certified EHR vendor in the middle of the program year?

Answer: If an EP, eligible hospital or CAH switches from one certified EHR vendor to another during the program year, the data collected for the selected menu objectives and quality measures should be combined from both of the EHR systems for attestation.  The count of unique patients does not need to be reconciled when combining from the two EHR systems.

If the menu objectives and/or clinical quality measures used are also being changed when switching vendors, the menu objectives and/or quality measures collected from the EHR system that was used for the majority of the program year should be reported. (FAQ8227)

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