Wrangling MU Attestation for 80 Different Providers
Raking in incentive payments while keeping overhead low
Attesting to meaningful use can be an onerous task even for a single provider. But overseeing the process for more than six dozen of them at once would seem to be a tall order – a job for a small team of dedicated staffers.
[See also: CMS signals an ease to meaningful use reporting]
Darcie Trier is quality manager and advanced practice nurse at Swedish Covenant Medical Group, the employed provider arm of Chicago-based Swedish Covenant Hospital. She’s also a “team of myself,” managing the meaningful use process for SCMG’s 80 or so eligible providers.
It can be a challenge, she says, wrangling with voluminous data and dozens of docs in various programs and payment years.
[See also: Eligible Provider “Meaningful Use” Criteria]
“We’re up over 100 providers now,” says Trier. “I think I have 80 that are eligible for meaningful use.”
These providers are “in every level of every stage you can talk about,” she says. “I have providers that attested for the very first time – Stage 1, Year 1 – this year. I have 54 providers in Stage 1 – 40 of them are Medicare; 14 are Medicaid. And then in Stage 2, I have 24 providers right now: 23 Medicare and one Medicaid.”
That alone is enough of a challenge – never mind the steady drumbeat of rules and revisions to rules (with more apparently still to come) from Washington.
Add to that the fact that “I am a team of myself; I don’t have a staff,” says Trier. “If I was a practice that had three providers, it would be fine. But I can’t keep tabs on 80 providers in different stages in different programs very easily.”
But by making use of the MU Assistant analytics technology from Chicago-based SA Ignite, Trier says she’s been able to get a much better handle on who is where in the process.
No question, it’s a complicated process: “Keeping it straight who’s in Stage 1, who’s in Stage 2, who’s in Medicare, who’s in Medicaid, being able to show the providers that they have a green line, or they have a red line, or what they really have to work on” – all those are challenges the technology helps address, she says.
Moreover, when the MU incentive checks arrive in the mail, the tool helps sort out where the funds should be allocated.
Once upon a time, says Trier, she’d “throw an attestation out there for eight providers, and then a couple days later maybe eight more went out, and then two months later we get one giant check: I have no idea who to allocate that money to, whose cost center.
“The only way I could figure it out would be to log into the CMS system and look up each provider I attested for, individually – go to their payment status and look and see if a payment was posted.”
The SA Ignite system, says Trier, “sweeps that for me and puts it in a report; I just have to click a button. And then I can tell my accounting department where the money needs to be allocated.”
If all this attestation was being done manually, “I would have to have staff,” she says.
But with the analytics tool, “it’s so easy; I can attest for ten people in about ten minutes,” she says. “I look at that dashboard every day, all day. Like a little hawk.”