According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Meaningful Use Stage 1 measures, physicians must attest to at least one public health measure from the list of menu criteria in an effort to improve and public health.
The two public health measures and exclusions from the requirements are:
- Perform at least one test of a certified electronic health record (EHR) system's capacity to submit electronic data to immunization registries and follow-up submission if the test is successful (unless none of the immunization registries to which the physician submits such information can receive the information electronically). This does not apply to physicians who do not immunize patients during the EHR reporting period or where there is no immunization registry with the capacity to receive the information electronically.
- Perform at least one test of the certified EHR technology's capacity to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data (collection and analysis of health data about a clinical syndrome that has a significant impact on public health) to public health agencies and follow-up submission if the test is successful (unless none of the public health agencies to which a physician submits such information has the capacity to receive the information electronically). This does not apply to a physician who does not collect any reportable syndromic information on his or her patients during the EHR reporting period or who does not submit such information to any public health agency that has the capacity to receive the information electronically.
This means Texas physicians who provide immunizations to patients should perform at least one test by submitting patient immunization data to ImmTrac, the state's immunization registry.
Physicians who do not provide immunizations should choose the public health measure on syndromic surveillance data submission. In Texas, only the Tarrant County Public Health Department can electronically receive syndromic surveillance data. Physicians who do not submit to Tarrant County or who do not collect syndromic surveillance data can claim an exclusion.
Physicians participating in meaningful use are required to attest to all 15 of the core measures and must choose five measures from the menu set of 10. Both of the aforementioned public health measures are part of the criteria. If a physician is eligible to claim an exclusion from both, then he or she should select one of the two measures during attestation and claim the respective exemption. The physician should then choose four other measures from the menu set for attestation.
Meeting meaningful use and attesting to the required criteria is a complex undertaking. Physicians needing help with attestation or any other EHR incentive program requirements should seek help from one of the four Texas regional extension centers (RECs). CMS established the RECs to help physicians with the complexities of the meaningful use EHR incentive program. Visit TMA's REC Resource Center to find out which REC serves your county and to learn more about the services offered.
For questions about this and any other health information technology issues, contact TMA's HIT Department at (800) 880-5720 or by email.
Action, May 1, 2012