What is the EHR Incentive Program?
The EHR Incentive Program provides incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR software. Providers have to meet specific requirements to receive incentive payments. See Official Website for Medicaid and Medicare EHR Incentive Programs (cms.gov).
To purchase Open Dental for EHR, see Open Dental EHR.
- The EHR Incentive Program is not a reimbursement program for purchasing or replacing EHR software.
- In October 2015, CMS released a new Final Rule that changed reporting criteria. See EHR Modified Stage 2 for more information.
There are two paths for dental providers: Medicaid or Medicare. Most dental providers are in the Medicaid program.
EPs can receive up to $63,750 total over 6 years (typically pediatrics, community health centers, FQHCs, rural health clinics). The last year to begin participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program was 2016. The last year to receive a payment is 2021. Participation years do not have to be consecutive.
- Determine Eligibility: EPs must have a minimum Medicaid patient volume (30%) or meet other specific qualification criteria. Refer to CMS.gov for specific requirements.
Current Open Dental users: See Eligibility Queries.
- Register with CMS: See Registration and Attestation on the CMS.gov website.
- Purchase Open Dental EHR and sign a dated one-year EHR contract. This is your proof that you are using an 2014 edition certified EHR software. It must be renewed each participation year.
- Meet Requirements:
Year 1: Adopt, Implement or Upgrade (AIU) to a certified EHR software. Use the signed and dated EHR contract for the current year as proof you have completed AIU. You do not need to demonstrate meaningful use during your AIU year; it is optional.
Years 2 - 6: Demonstrate meaningful use of Open Dental by meeting thresholds for a set of 10 objectives. See EHR Modified Stage 2.
- Attest: Attest that you have met requirements of the program. See EHR Attestation.
Adopt, Implement, Upgrade (AIU)
EPs in their first year of the Medicaid incentive program only have to Adopt, Implement, or Upgrade (AIU) to a certified EHR software.
- Adopt: Acquire a certified EHR software.
- Implement: Begin to use a certified EHR software.
- Upgrade: Expand use of a certified EHR software.
This means that you have to purchase and have an EHR certified software for year 1. You are not required to use Open Dental or meet meaningful use requirements during your AIU year. Because states may interpret the rule differently, we recommend installing the software at a minimum of one location. Contact your state for final guidance.
Notes: As we understand the Final Rule, you must purchase the EHR software during the year for which you receive the incentive payment. (e.g. to receive a 2016 incentive payment, you must purchase EHR software in 2016).
EPs can receive up to $43,720 total over 5 consecutive years (typically doctors of surgery or dental medicine). The last year to start participation was 2014. Every year providers must demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR software by meeting thresholds for a number of objectives. To access EHR reporting in Open Dental, you will need to renew your Open Dental EHR contract every year.
Demonstrating meaningful use means using a certified EHR software to meet Modified Stage 2 objectives for a specific reporting period. You will need to renew your EHR contract with Open Dental each year.
If you are new to Open Dental: We recommend using Open Dental for dental charting several months in advance of a planned reporting period so patient records are established and your staff is trained. Our support technicians are on hand to help with installation and questions. If you require a Data Conversion, contact our conversion department.
Demonstrating Meaningful Use: Once you are comfortable using Open Dental for charting, practice entering the required data for Modified Stage 2. We recommend allowing an additional 1 - 2 months of practice before you actually begin a reporting period. Know the objectives and measures, the requirements, set up EHR options in Open Dental, and develop workflows that support data collection. See Before you Begin a Reporting Period.
We have collected the following resource links that you may find useful when learning about the EHR Incentive Program and determining eligibility.