The GW Medical Faculty Associates, users of Allscript Enterprise EHR, captured more than $1.8 million of unexpected incentives by using the MU ASSISTANT® software.
It was the fall of 2012, and The GW Medical Faculty Associates (“GWMFA”) was faced with a daunting task. Providers wavered in and out of compliance for any given Meaningful Use (MU) measure and rumors of a slow CMS Attestation site were buzzing around the ambulatory community. While staff remained lighthearted about the prospect of long hours of work, the looming deadline and holiday schedule were very much on their minds.
Praveen Toteja, Chief Information Officer for GWMFA, made a quick decision. “I knew that if we were going to maximize our incentive dollars and not lose $5,000 per physician for missing MU, we needed help.”
The $5,000 of vanishing incentives was a keen insight by Toteja. Medicare providers who did not achieve MU in 2012 would see the total amount of incentives they would be eligible for across the life of the incentive program drop from $44,000 to $39,000. And the carrot continues to shrink in 2013 and 2014 - providers hoping to start in 2013 who miss lose $15,000 of incentives and that number climbs to $24,000 in 2014.
Time was of the essence as GWMFA had specific attestation goals to meet and wanted to maximize the benefits of MU ASSISTANT software in the last few months of the payment year. MU ASSISTANT software is SA Ignite’s application that is custom-built for MU. The software solution functions as a centralized system-of-record that can manage all aspects of the MU process - including automatically pulling MU measure data from ambulatory EHRs on a daily basis, aggregating this data, packaging it into easy-to understand views, e-filing registrations and attestations,and compiling an audit binder. It has been compared to TurboTax® for its ability to work with an enterprise system and make a complex reporting process much simpler and less time intensive.
“We had a goal of attesting for 100 providers for the 2012 Payment Year,” said Toteja, “I challenged the SA Ignite team: at a minimum, I want to meet the goal, but what can you do to help us beat it?”
The SA Ignite team worked quickly to connect the certified EHR system’s MU reports to MU ASSISTANT software and expedited training for the engaged GWMFA MU team. By early January, 2013 GWMFA had doubled their goal and attested for 201 providers.
Connecting Up The System
GWMFA was excited to hear that SA Ignite had significant experience working with other Allscripts customers and would be connecting seamlessly through the Allscripts Stim Set cloud reporting system. Set-up was simple for the GWMFA team and were able to review live data in MU ASSISTANT software less than two weeks.
While the Allscripts connection was seamless, the team had to figure out how to collect data from a third-party vendor for their electronic copy measure (Le., “provide an electronic copy of health information to those that request it”). While it had been previously determined as cost and time prohibitive to have the eCopy vendor deliver the data, SA Ignite was able to extract this data and combing it with the MU data from Stim Set.
Beating The Goal
The challenge was on. Beating the goal of 100 providers was dependent on two things, made possible with the daily data runs automated by MU ASSISTANT software. First, GWMFA needed a view into every future and past 90-day period since upgrading to the certified system. By back-loading data for the entire last quarter of 2012, GWMFA managers were able to see daily 90-day windows and pinpoint compliant providers who were only compliant for minimal compliant periods.
“Over 30 providers only met a 90-day period for one or two days,” said Anna Abel, Program Manager at GWMFA, “while we thought that provider behavior would be consistent over a time period, we found fluctuations on various measures that meant compliance wasn’t assured. We used MU ASSISTANT software’s Provider Compliance report to view rolling 90-day windows and find these 30 ‘needle in the haystack’ providers, which we doubt we would have found otherwise.”
The second key tactic for maximizing the number of compliant providers in 2012 was evaluating daily data trends for providers. The ease of accessing relevant data allowed staff to zero-in on key issues, make quick workflow changes, and accelerate providers toward compliance by the end of 2012. The continual feedback loop reinforced to managers that the interventions were successful and, if not, where additional remediation was required. Seeing daily data in insightful views helped to ensure compliance for twenty providers in the final days of MU and helped to accelerate MU for countless others.
$1.8 Million In Unexpected Incentives And Return On Investment
Manually attesting for over 200 providers is time consuming and GWMFA staff estimated that they would have had to engage additional resources to simply run reports, enter data on the CMS attestation site, and save final copies to create a defensible audit trail. Exceeding the goal did not create additional work and, with the streamlined attestation process, GWMFA had most of their providers attested prior to the end of the calendar year.
Toteja looks back at the return on investment for delivered by MU ASSISTANT software, “We earned $1.8 Million in unexpected incentives, $500,000 of which would have vanished based on the structure of the MU program and $1.3 Million of them would have hopefully been captured in 2013. Factor in staff time savings, and we calculate an ROI in excess of 450%. That means the investment paid itself back in roughly 2 months. That doesn’t even factor in benefits on the audit side or accelerating the $1.3 Million to 2012.”
SA Ignite called Anna right before the year-end holidays. She was cool, calm and collected, having attested for most providers and trying to push a final few through. She said “In September, I figured I’d be working around the clock frantically between now and February 28th, the attestation deadline. Now I’m really looking forward to getting quality time with family - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”
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