EMR incentives: a long wait?

Posted on March 9, 2011 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

Last year, in 2010, my practice manager and I decided to try to get an incentive payment for reporting clinical data in the CMS Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).  I said from the beginning to Ken, “Just mark my words, there will some beaurocratic complication somewhere in all the fine print, and we will never see a dime.”

We began the maze of figuring out who to talk with at CMS about a month ago.  Over the past month, we spent several hours of precious business time, in a maze of “contacts” at CMS  in order to make an interesting discovery.  Reporting from 2010 requires CMS government employees to begin data crunching and analyzing our numbers, as well as those of all of the other providers who reported data, on March 1, 2011.  A final report will not be available until the fall, at which time checks may be printed and sent out.  It is impossible to find out whether we even qualified based on the data we reported in 2010, until at least the fall of 2011.  PQRI is worth at most 2% of the billed amounts from the original patient visits in 2010.

Regarding meaningful use, I just can’t help but think how many delays in data processing and payment such a larger amount of money will entail.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.   He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.