Health Technology Services Newsletter

Issue 50  Nov 2016
Your Trusted Source for Staying Current with Health Technology Information   
Top 5 What You Need to Know Now!
click on the links for more information


Register for FREE Webinars
Tuesday, November  15, 2016 - 11 to 12:30 pm MDT
MACRA Quality Payment Program Final Rule Webinar
Presented by CMS
Webinar Description
Join CMS for a webinar on the MACRA final rule with comment period.  The webinar will give an overview of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) incentive payment provisions under MACRA, collectively referred to as the Quality Program Program.

Target Audience: Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service clinicians, office managers and administrators; state and national associations that represent healthcare providers and other stakeholders.
Presentation: CMS will post the call presentation at least one day in advance on the MLN Connects National Provider Calls and Events webpage. CMS will post the audio recording and written transcript approximately 2 weeks after the call.

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 1 to 2 pm MDT
2016 Meaningful Use End of Year Review
Presented by Health Technology Services
Webinar Description
Join Patty Kosednar, HTS Consultant, to review what you need to know and do to successfully attest to Meaningful Use for the 2016 reporting year.  We will also provide an overview of the alignment/conversion of the existing MU program into MACRA/MIPS for 2017.
Review the requirements for 2016 MU reporting
*  Discuss  options if CMS approves a 90 day reporting period for 2016
Share the list of tasks and deadlines needed to meet the requirements
*   Provide suggestions on how to overcome obstacles in reporting
*   Overview of MU program alignment with MACRA/MIPS for 2017
*  Open Q&S Session

Register Now!

Did You Miss our Latest October Webinars - PQRS QRUR The Value Modifier Report Card?
On October 25, Sharon Phelps, Mountain-Pacific Quality Improvement Consultant, shared the basics of the PQRS Quality and Resource Utilization Report (QRUR).   Access the presentation slides and recording.
Do you have a webinar topic you would like us to present?  Email your hot topic to Deb AndersonSee our upcoming webinars.
Top 5 What You Need to Know Now!
Top1Meaningful Use (MU):  What are the Alternate Exclusions Available in 2016 for Meaningful Use?
In 2015, CMS published a final rule that specifies criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EH) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs for 2015 through 2017.
The final rule included alternate exclusions for certain objectives and measures in 2015 and 2016 where there is not a Stage 1 measure equivalent to the Modified Stage 2 (2015 through 2017) measure, where a menu measure in any stage is now a requirement, or where additional technologies or CEHRT modules are required.
Below is information on the available alternate exclusions for 2016 -  
  • Eligible Providers, Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals that were scheduled to be in Stage 1 in 2016 may claim an alternate exclusion for Objective 3 - Computerized Provider Order Entry, Measures 2 and 3 (lab and radiology orders), or choose the modified Stage 2 objective and measures.
  • Eligible hospitals and CAHs that were scheduled to be in Stage 1 in 2016, or were scheduled to demonstrate Stage 2 but did not intend to select the Stage 2 electronic prescribing (eRx) objective, may claim an alternate exclusion for Objective 4 - eRx or choose the modified Stage 2 objective.
  • Providers scheduled to be in Stage 1 and Stage 2 in 2016 may claim an alternate exclusion for the Public Health Reporting measure(s) that might require acquisition of additional technologies that they did not previously have or did not previously intend to include in their activities for meaningful use. EPs may claim an alternate exclusion for Measure 2 (syndromic surveillance) and Measure 3 (specialized registry reporting). Eligible hospitals may claim an alternate exclusion for Measure 3 (specialized registry reporting).
  • Review this CMS fact sheet for an overview and more details about alternate exclusions for certain objectives and measures in 2016.
The information above is for the "alternate exclusions" available this year.  There are still possible exclusions for some of the measures (in addition to the alternate exclusions).  To check out the exclusions available on each measure, click on the individual measure link on the following spec sheets -
Additional Resources:

Be sure to visit and subscribe to our new HTS MU Blog.   Please contact HTS if you have questions or would like any additional information.  
The 2015 Annual QRURs were released on September 26, 2016. The 2015 Annual QRURs show how physician groups and physician solo practitioners performed in 2015 on the quality and cost measures used to calculate the 2017 Value Modifier as well as their 2017 Value Modifier payment adjustment. Access and review your 2015 Annual QRUR now to determine whether you are subject to the 2017 Value Modifier payment adjustment.

An Enterprise Identity Management (EIDM) account with the appropriate role is required for groups and solo practitioners to obtain their 2015 Annual QRURs. The  How to Obtain a QRUR webpage contains instructions for signing up for the appropriate role in EIDM and instructions for accessing the QRUR.

Physician groups or physician solo practitioners may request an informal review of perceived errors in their 2017 Value Modifier calculation during the informal review period of September 26, 2016 through November 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm at Eastern Time.  Additional information about the 2015 Annual QRURs and how to request an informal review is available on the  2015 QRUR and 2017 Value Modifier webpage .

Contact HTS for questions or assistance.

Top3Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs):  Did you know your software vendor may not be certified to report all Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) electronically?
During the certification process, certified EHR vendors do not have to certify to report all of the clinical quality measures - this applies to both hospital and provider EHRs.  This becomes a determinant factor if your organization or provider decides to move ahead with electronic report of CQMs.

If you do not have direct access to your software vendor or are curious to know, you can find the CQMs that your vendor is certified to at the Certified Health IT Product website (maintained by ONC) at  You will need to be able to search for your vendor by CEHRT number (easiest way) or name and version number.  If it is not an integrated system, you may need this information from each of the pieces and parts.

If you'd like assistance, please don't hesitate to  contact HTS.

Soon, CMS will begin distributing letters to each Eligible Professional who did NOT satisfactorily report 2015 PQRS quality measures. The purpose of this letter is to inform each individual or group who will be receiving a 2.0% reduction on all their 2017 Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule payments. The good news is the majority of eligible professionals successfully reported PQRS in 2015 so fewer of you will be receiving this letter than last year! This letter pertains  only to the PQRS program  and, if you receive this letter, you could also be subjected to additional negative adjustments under the Value Modifier program.

If you do receive one or more of these letters, here are the important things to know.
FIRST - d etermine who is affected by the payment reduction.
Look at the number in the upper left-hand corner of the letter. Is it just the Tax Identification Number (TIN) or does it also contain the TIN plus the National Provider Identifier (NPI) number for a TIN/NPI combination number?
  • If a letter is sent to individual EPs, a TIN/NPI combination number will be listed and the adjustment applies only to the individual EP associated with the TIN/NPI noted within the letter and not the clinic or facility.
  • If the letter is sent to PQRS group practices, a TIN only is listed and the adjustment applies to all EPs who have reassigned their billing rights to the TIN. 
SECOND -  understand your options.
  • Submit an informal review if you believe the negative payment adjustment is being applied in error. This would be an appropriate step if you submit 2015 PQRS quality measures and are getting a negative payment adjustment. Review the PQRS feedbacks to learn more about why CMS is giving this adjustment.
  • Deadline to submit the informal review is November 30.
  • CMS will investigate and issue a decision within 90 days of receipt.
  • Informal review requests are submitted via a web-based tool at Quality Reporting Communication Support Page.
Please note - this link is for an Informal Review for PQRS only. To submit an Informal Review for the Value Modifier, please use the Informal Review option located in EIDM in the PV-PQRS section.
  • If you did not submit 2015 PQRS quality measures, there are no hardship exemptions for the PQRS negative payment adjustment.
For further information regarding the 2017 PQRS negative payment adjustment, please see the PQRS Payment Adjustment Information webpage.
THIRD -  prepare for 2016 PQRS quality measure submission.
  • If you will be getting a negative payment adjustment in 2017, you will want to review your approach to reporting PQRS quality measures for 2016 to avoid negative payment adjustments in the future. Our staff is available to discuss your strategy and answer your questions. 

Take a look at our new  
HTS PQRS Blog which  provides timely information and suggestions for PQRS reporting throughout the process.  Subscribe now to receive the most current PQRS blog information in your email.  Once you subscribe, you can add your comments, questions or advice that can help others through the PQRS "adventure".
Please contact HTS if you need any assistance with PQRS or visit our HTS PQRS resources.  

T5HIPAA: Looking to take advantage of cloud solutions and stay HIPAA compliant?
With the proliferation and widespread adoption of cloud computing solutions, HIPAA covered entities and business associates are questioning whether and how they can take advantage of cloud computing, while complying with the HIPAA Rules. 

In response, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued important new guidance to assist organizations, including cloud service providers (CSPs), in understanding their HIPAA obligations.  The guidance presents key questions and answers to assist HIPAA-regulated CSPs and their customers in understanding their responsibilities under the HIPAA Rules when they create, receive, maintain, or transmit electronic protected health information using cloud products and services.

You may find the new guidance on OCR's website .

OCR's FAQs on this topic may be found under Business Associates - Cloud Computing .

Email  Susan Clarke,   ISCCertified Health Care Information Security and Privacy Practitioner with Health Technology Services, if you need help with your Privacy and Security needs.
HTS Contact Information
Health Technology Services is a department of Mountain-Pacific Quality Health Foundation, QIN-QIO for Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming.  Together we can help you use technology to deliver the quality care your patients deserve!  
Thank-You and Happy Thanksgiving!    
Health Technology Services
Mountain-Pacific Quality Health
Contact HTS at (406) 457-5897
MACRA Final Rule Delivered for Quality Payment Program

On October 14, CMS finalized the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) under MACRA.
The rule confirms the two payment tracks already proposed.  The first track allows providers to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).  However, the final rule makes official the  "pick your pace provision" that allows providers a slower entry into the model if they are not quite prepared to handle all aspects of the program.  To do this, CMS is offering providers a flexible performance period at the beginning.
The second track is for physicians who participate in alternative payment models (APMs), like accountable care organizations, that will tie their payments to savings generated in those models.


Explains the new program and helps providers to easily identify the measures most meaningful to their practice or specialty

Subscribe now to our new Mountain-Pacific MACRA-Quality Payment Program blog.  You'll receive timely information, ideas and tools to help you through the decisions and tasks necessary to report in 2017 to avoid penalties and in some cases possibly receive positive adjustments.
Mountain-Pacific has a new MACRA-QPP blog
Mountain-Pacific Quality Health introduces a new MACRA-Quality Payment Program (QPP) blog designed to provide timely and important Quality Payment Program information as well as helpful advice, tips and best practices to clinics and hospitals.

This blog will help you through the decisions and tasks necessary to report in 2017 to avoid penalties, and in some cases possibly receive positive adjustments.

Visit MACRA-QPP Blog to view our recent Quality Payment Program blog postings.

We've made it easy to subscribe.  Click Subscribe Now, and you will begin receiving an email with a link to a blog every time there is a new post.  You can add your online Comments and also have easy access to an archive of relevant Quality Payment Program posts.

We welcome your questions, comments and shared advice on all things Quality Payment Program, which will be used to create future blog posts or help others along the QPP path.

Subscribe to MACRA-QPP Blog.

MT EPs SLR Update
MT DPHHS State Level Registry Opens

The Montana State Level Registry (SLR) is scheduled to open Monday, November 7, 2016 and close Friday, March 31, 2017 for eligible professionals (EPs) attesting for PY2016 Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentives.

MT Medicaid EHR Incentive Provider Outreach:

MT EHR Incentive State Level Registry:

SLR Help Desk: (866) 879-0109 x8;

Physician Compare Preview Period
Preview Period is Here

CMS created the Physician Compare website as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 to provide useful information about physicians and other health care professionals who take part in Medicare.

The Physician Compare 30-day preview period began on October 12, 2016 and will end on November 11, 2016. The preview period provides clinicians and group practice representatives an opportunity to preview their 2015 performance scores as they will appear on Physician Compare in late 2016.
To learn more about the preview period and which measures are targeted for public reporting later this year, select one of the following:

Guide to Physician Compare Preview Period

Physician Compare 2015 individual clinician measures

Physician Compare 2015 group practice measures

Downloadable Database 2015 individual clinician measures

Downloadable Database 2015 group practice measures

See CMS Physician Compare website

WY National Rural Health Day Photo Contest
Enter Wyoming's 2016 National Rural Health Day Photo Contest!
On November 17, we celebrate National Rural Health Day.  

Let your creativity and originality shine by submitting a photograph that you think best portrays the concept of rural health.  
S end a high resolution version of the
photo in a .jpeg, .gif, or .tif file format to . Include your
name, email address, phone number,
and a caption of your photo.  Good Luck!

For more details, download the Photo Contest flyer.

Clinic Corner
Are you on track for 2016 PQRS?  Visit the Clinic Corner at our HTS website to find out.  You will also find the latest webinars and current information you need to know.

Hospital Corner
Will MU for 2016 be a full year or 90 days?    Visit the Hospital Corner  at our HTS website to find out and also for the latest webinars and current information you need to know.

QIO Corner
November is National Diabetes Month
November 1-7th is National Diabetes Education Week, and November 14th is World Diabetes Day
One in 11 Americans have diabetes - that's more than 29 million people. And another 86 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Check out these diabetes tools and resources you can share with your provider partners and patients.
  -  American Diabetes Association (ADA)'s Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test (You can also download a paper version.)
  -  American Diabetes Month promotional materials, posters and ads
  -  American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Seasonal Eating Tips for People with Diabetes - Great handout for heading into the holidays!
  -  AADE's aging and diabetes handout, which talks about "sneaky symptoms" that are too often attributed to being a normal part of aging
  -  International Diabetes Federation's Eyes on Diabetes poster

Come See Us
Nov 10, 2016
Visit us at the MT HIMSS/MT Tech Open House in Butte, MT.

May 1-3, 2017
Stop by and see us at the 2017 MT HIMSS Spring Conference in Bozeman, MT.

Planning an Upcoming Event
HTS has HIT/CMS Program subject matter experts who can present current and relevant information on many HIT/Quality Reporting topics.  
Contact Deb Anderson  for details.

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Happy Thanksgiving!