To successfully demonstrate meaningful use, providers must report on all patients, regardless of payer.
The government describes the program as “payer-neutral” as it applies to patients. Even though providers elect to pursue incentives under either Medicare or Medicaid, they must meaningfully use their EHR in the same manner, and report the same data, for their entire patient population—private and self-pay patients, as well as those who are government-insured. While the descriptions of many of the meaningful use measures define their respective numerators and denominators as a subset of the provider’s patients, these distinctions are based on factors totally independent of payer status.
It is interesting that the government can impose requirements related to patients for whom it is not paying the bills. This says something about the broader purpose behind the legislation.
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.