SCGhealth Blog


Share your EMR Information- Prevention of Information Blocking Attestation

Monday, November 27, 2017

By Audrey Landers, Intern

Part of getting the highest score possible in the Advancing Care Information (ACI) category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment system (MIPS) is using your certified electronic medical record technology to exchange electronic health information. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) understands that sometimes there may be circumstances that are beyond a MIPS eligible clinician’s control that may hinder their ability to do this, therefore you must show that you have acted in good faith to share health information when appropriate. CMS intends to focus on the individual clinician’s circumstances in order to determine whether a good faith effort was made.

All MIPS eligible clinicians will be required to attest to statements about the implementation and use of certified electronic medical record technology. If you are reporting as a group, every single MIPS eligible clinician must attest. If any member does not attest, the whole group will fail the meet the attestation requirement.

There are three statements that each MIPS eligible clinician must attest to:

Statement 1: I did not knowingly and willfully take action (such as to disable functionality) to limit or restrict the compatibility or interoperability of certified electronic medical record technology.

Statement one is mostly an umbrella statement, with the other two statements going into further detail. With this first statement, you must be ready to demonstrate that you have not knowingly restricted access to your certified electronic medical record technology.

Statement 2: I implemented technologies, standards, policies, practices, and agreements reasonably calculated to ensure, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, that the certified electronic medical record technology was, at all relevant times:

  • Connected in accordance with applicable law

  • Compliant with all standards applicable to the exchange of information, including the standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria in regulation

  • Implemented in a manner that allowed for timely access by patients to their electronic health information (including the ability to view, download, and transmit this information)

  • Implemented in a manner that allowed for the timely, secure, and trusted bidirectional exchange of structured electronic health information with other health care providers as defined by law

Statement two is about the interoperability of certified electronic medical record technology. Specifically, this statement confirms that you reasonably implement corresponding technologies, standards, practices, and policies as well as agreeing not to restrict appropriate access to your certified electronic medical record technology’s information. CMS does not expect individual clinicians to have a complete understanding of the technical details as long as a good faith effort is shown to comply with this statement.

Statement 3: I responded in good faith and in a timely manner to requests to retrieve or exchange electronic health information, including from patients, health care providers and other persons, regardless of the requestor’s affiliation or technology vendor.

Statement three focuses on the use of certified electronic medical record technology and the steps taken to exchange appropriate information in a timely manner. You may attest to statement three even if you have restricted information, as long as there was a good reason. For example, in the cases of certified electronic medical record technology maintenance or a security concern, functionality may be reasonably restricted in ways that are narrowly tailored to the situation and show a good faith effort to minimize the impact of loss of functionality for patients and other clinicians.

For more information about the prevention of information blocking attestation, please see CMS’ official fact sheet.


Does Your EMR Measure Up?

Monday, July 17, 2017

By Ben Regaldo, contributing writer

If you saw the recent announcement by Allscripts, a major electronic medical records (EMR) provider, that it has released the first fully certified 2015 edition, some questions may arise, such as: What is certification? Does it matter? What’s different about the 2015 edition?

What Is Certification?

Certification essentially means that an independent reviewer (Authorized Certification Body, or ACB) compared the product’s features against a detailed listing of standards, and then notes which standards are met.

The federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC-HIT) maintains the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL, found at chpl.healthit.gov). The CHPL is a comprehensive and easily navigable database of the multitude of EMR products available. By sorting through this database, you should be able to find your product, as well as see all the products that are independently certified with regards to 2011, 2014 and 2015 criteria. Think of it as the Joint Commission of EMRs. The CHPL enables users to easily make precise “apples to apples” comparisons of the various software products on the market, all while noting what standards are met by each product.

Does It Matter?

The overarching goal of certified software is to assure that necessary health information is being appropriately captured, stored and secured in a manner that allows for easy exchange of information between providers who may not be on the same systems. Proper software should also support the tracking and benchmarking of health care data, solely for the benefit of the providers, as well as patients.

Certification reviews cover how the software versions enable what was once known as “Meaningful Use” (Stages 2 and 3), as well as the many Clinical Quality Measures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Rolled together, these are the standards that allow you to meet elements of the new Merit-based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPS) methodologies, which will determine positive/negative adjustments to your Medicare payment rates in the years ahead.

Under the new MIPS scoring system, a total of 25% of your score comes from meeting standards in what is now known as Advancing Care Information. There are about 60+ items on this list – 48 of which are reviewed in the certification process.

What's Different About the 2015 Edition?

It is important to note and understand that “required” does not mean a system must demonstrate the criteria or it fails certification. This simply means that the element was previously considered “optional” and meeting said element was not required for full certification.

With the release of the 2015 edition, comes the removal of different criteria that made up the prior version. Unfortunately, out of the 2014 criteria that was removed in 2015, having advance directives was amongst them. Certain items were also changed. For example, the clarifications on the electronic submission of Clinical Quality Measures has been sorted into two standards – reporting and filtering.

However, if anything the 2015 criteria changes demonstrate the desire of the ONC-HIT to promote the evolution and expansion of exactly how EMRs are used.

For example, some items are no longer noted as optional in the 2015 criteria, most importantly computerized provider order entry (CPOE) for medications, laboratory, diagnostic imaging. Along with the CPOE, it is also worth mentioning the accounting of disclosures, as well as the transmission of information to cancer registries and public health organizations.

Alongside the criteria that was removed, new criteria were added as well. The most notable addition signifies the ability of the EMR system being able to maintain Implantable Device Lists and Social, Psychology ad Behavioral Determinants Data. Beyond merely sharing this information, the ONC-HIT is encouraging the creation and exchange of data in a “common clinical data set,” which is demonstrated by the broadening of data transmission to public health agencies.

With a wide range of products on the market, you don’t need to be looking for a new product in order to evaluate your own routinely. Instead, just look at how your product stands up against the certification criteria/different products to shed some light onto some useful features that you may not be using to your advantage. Doing so will allow your providers to deliver better and more coordinated care for your patients, no matter where they are in the healthcare spectrum. Use the certification criteria as a tool to help you run your practice more efficiently, ultimately delivering the best possible experience for your patients. That’s what it’s all about, right?


Attestation Worksheets Now Available for 2016 Medicare EMR Incentive Program

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Written by: Melissa Cotton

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that its certified electronic medical record (EMR) Incentive Program attestation system will be open from January 3 through February 28, 2017. All physicians must attest by the February 28, 2017 deadline to avoid a 2018 payment adjustment. The EMR Incentive Program is commonly known as the “Meaningful Use Program.”

CMS has also released two attestation worksheets for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals. The worksheets can be located on the CMS website or by following the links listed below:

The Eligible Professional Attestation Worksheet is for physicians in the Modified Stage 2 of the Medicare EMR Incentive Program. Physicians must report on the following:

  • Ten objectives, which should include one consolidated public health reporting objective with measure options requiring physicians scheduled to be in Stage 1 and Stage 2 to meet two public health measures (SCG Health is a specialized registry)
  • Nine out of 64 of the clinical quality measures covering at least three National Quality Strategy domains

Physicians may log into their meaningful use measure dashboard in their certified electronic medical record technology for each objective and use the worksheet as a reference when attesting for the 2016 Medicare EMR Incentive Program in CMS’ Registration and Attestation System. CMS strongly encourages providers to review the additional resources for the 2016 EMR Incentive Program.

For assistance using the Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System, reference these user guide materials:

To call for support, dial 1-888-734-6433, option 1 between 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Central Time) Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

Be Prepared for an Audit
As a reminder, please take screen shots and other support materials to demonstrate the information used to attest for meaningful use during the 2016 period chosen. SCG Health’s recommendations and best practices are in these blog posts:

Need help?
With the deadline for attesting for Meaningful Use rapidly approaching, be sure to log in and check your account today. And if you need help, contact SCG Health.


Office Ally announces new e-Prescribe module, OA-Rx

Sunday, November 23, 2014
(Vancouver, WA – November 23, 2014) – With electronic prescribing becoming increasingly important to providing safe, effective, and enhanced patient care, Office Ally announced that it will be deploying a free self-developed e-Prescribing module, OA-Rx, for non-controlled substances which will be integrated into their Practice Management software, Practice Mate™, and Electronic Medical Records software, EHR 24/7™. Office Ally, partnering with SureScripts, will reach over 70,000 pharmacies nationwide. This will allow for seamless connections for electronic submissions and renewal request responses between prescribers and pharmacies.


Features available for FREE to Prescribers using OA-Rx:

  • View Prescription Benefits and Formulary information 
  • Save commonly used drugs/sigs to a favorites list 
  • Automatically build commonly used pharmacy lists for each patient 
  • View Medication History for drugs prescribed for each patient 
  • View automatic Interaction Alerts for Drug to Drug, Drug to Disease, and Drug to Allergy interactions, as well as clinically relevant cautionary information.
  • Provide patients with valuable coupons and informative script guides for drugs prescribed (when available) 
  • Access various reports and logs for easier record keeping and tracking 
  • Increases Provider HEDIS scores leading to larger reimbursements 

Office Ally’s OA-Rx was deemed a “Certified Software Solution” by SureScripts, LLC in June, 2014. In addition to the SureScripts certification, the following states require specific review and approval of e-Prescribing modules by their states’ Boards of Pharmacy:
  • Alabama 
  • Connecticut 
  • Indiana 
  • Nevada 
  • Ohio 
  • Washington 

Office Ally has gained this approval by all of the above states, with the exception of Ohio. Office Ally is currently working with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to approve OA-Rx for use in that state. Office Ally’s OA-Rx will be able to be used in all states not listed, as the SureScripts certification status is all that is required for states not listed.

Office Ally’s EHR 24/7 product was tested and certified in 2013 for the updated Meaningful Use 2014 Edition criteria for both Stage I and Stage II. Office Ally was certified by The Drummond Group, who is a designated certifying body by the Office of the National Coordinator Authorized Certification Body (ONC-ACB) program. The new e-Prescribe module, OA-Rx, was re-certified by The Drummond Group in 2014, so there is no lapse for providers when OA-Rx is released. Meaningful Use is a set of criteria for the use of Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) to improve patient care by healthcare providers.

Office Ally is the only organization in the country offering healthcare providers a full suite of revenue-cycle management services. Founded in 2000, Office Ally currently works with more than 330,000 providers and 5,600 insurance carriers in all 50 states. It also houses eligibility for nearly 400 IPAs and small health plans. Its complete suite of interactive ASP Internet-based solutions includes a patient health registry – Patient Ally™, electronic health records – EHR 24/7™, practice management – Practice Mate™, clearinghouse and case-connect tool. All of Office Ally’s products and services are offered at minimal or no cost to providers, with customer and technical support available 24/7. Further information may be obtained at www.officeally.com.

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