Registration for participation in the EHR incentives program begins today. It is done online (no paper registration, appropriately enough!) by using the registration link that should now appear on the CMS Registration and Attestation page. That page details all the information needed, so I will just remind providers who plan to participate under the Medicare program that they will have to be enrolled in PECOS, (Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System)—although not necessarily before they register.
While it is a good idea to begin familiarizing yourself with the registration process and requirements, there is no need to feel rushed. Registration does not have to be done immediately—it can even be done at the same time as attestation—and the earliest date that providers can attest to demonstrating meaningful use is April 1, 2011. Providers have until as late as October 1, 2012 to begin reporting on meaningful use and still earn the maximum reimbursement under Medicare—although it is clearly not advisable to wait until the last minute to start—and they can begin even later under the Medicaid provisions. (To be discussed in future posts.) The important determination eligible providers have to make upon registration is whether they will participate under Medicare or Medicaid, because once they receive their first incentive payment, they will only be able to switch programs one time. The next two Meaningful Use Monday posts will provide information to help providers make this decision.
Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EMR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money.