PQRS deadline extended for providers using EHR reporting method

The meaningful use attestation deadline for the 2014 reporting year Medicare EHR Incentive Program was recently extended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Most physicians are aware that the old deadline was Feb. 28, 2015, but it is now March 20. In addition to the MU extension, the CMS announced it has pushed the submission deadline for Physician Quality Reporting System participation to the same date on March 20. 

How can providers successfully participate in PQRS?
The new deadline for submitting the PQRS reporting processes is specifically for certified EHR data or direct submission vendors and the qualified clinical data registries, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Eligible professionals and group practices that participate in the PQRS program must submit satisfactory reporting data on quality measures for covered Medicare Physician Fee Schedule services. However, if participants fail to meet the 2014 reporting requirements, they will have to deal with a negative payment adjustment on all Medicare Part B PFS services rendered in 2016. The CMS urges providers who are considering participating in the PQRS reporting program to determine whether they are eligible to take part. 

As a part of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, clinical data registries must report the clinical quality measurement element of meaningful use. Physician practices and eligible providers who participate in the program without negative payment adjustments or any additional issues and report quality measures information receive an incentive payment from the CMS. 

Determining which PQRS reporting method is best
As physician practices attempt to figure out which reporting method is most effective for them, it is important to determine the options available for submitting data to the CMS. The options currently include claims-based, qualified EHR, Qualified Clinical Data Registry and Group Practice Reporting Option. The reporting regulations vary depending on the method, so physicians also have to find out what they are and make sure that they are able to meet them. 

If providers choose the qualified registry-based reporting method, they must decide on either the reporting options of individual measures or group measures. Those that participate in the 2014 PQRS individual measures have to submit at least nine measures that qualify as clinically appropriate throughout three National Quality Strategy domains. If this is done correctly, providers taking part in the program will qualify for PQRS incentive payments. 

Another factor to consider is the reporting frequency requirements, or time frame, required for each measure among all eligible patients. All of the measure specifications include an instruction section that features an explanation of its specific reporting frequency. To ensure that the practice's staff members obtain the information required for PQRS incentives, they will most likely need to undergo training sessions. 

Finally, providers may want to examine data associated with the PQRS payment adjustment. To ensure that they will avoid payment adjustments, physicians must continuously check to make sure that they are on the path to adhering to the requirements for satisfactory reporting in the 2014 PQRS. They can also report more than one individual measure through one of the three National Quality Strategy domains for a minimum of 50 percent of eligible Medicare Part B FFS patients. 

The CMS encourages any physician practice that is considering using the EHR-based reporting method to refer to its website, which provides detailed instructions. The site features a beginner's document that provides guidelines to EHR-based reporting for 2015 PQRS. The outline applies to individual providers who choose to report through both EHR and group practices. Physicians must also have registered for EHR-based reporting via the Group Practice Reporting Option. As EHR systems have been proven to enhance patient care and improve workflow efficiency, incorporating EHRs into an office and using them as a PQRS reporting method is an effective option.