• Technology and Your Practice

    • EHR Contracts Seal the Deal; Consider Having Them Reviewed

      TMA’s latest HIT preliminary survey results indicate 68 percent of Texas physicians now use an electronic health record (EHR). Even at critical mass, some practices are still in the market for a replacement, and a few first-time purchasers remain.

  • HIT Helpline - Your TMA Resource for HIT Questions

  • Consider This...

  • Meaningful Use Attestation Deadline Extended to March 11

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the attestation deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to Friday, March 11, 2016 at 10:59 p.m. CT, from the original deadline of Monday, February 29. 

    Attestation is done through the CMS Registration and Attestation System.

    Refer to the following CMS resources for assistance with attestation:

    2015 Objectives and Measures

    Attestation Worksheet and User Guide

  • HIT News

    • EPCS Permitted in Texas
      The start of the New Year is a good time to remind you of a Texas law that permits physicians to electronically prescribe controlled substances. If you regularly write prescriptions for controlled substances, you may find value in upgrading your technology to comply with the federal and state regulations.
    • Apply for Meaningful Use Hardship Exception by March 15
      CMS vowed to grant hardship exemptions for 2015 for those eligible physicians who were unable to attest due to the lateness of the rule. You have until March 15 to submit the hardship application. CMS provided some additional information on the hardship exception instructions.
    • Begin Participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program by 2016
      Physicians interested in receiving incentives for participation in the Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive program need to begin by adopting, implementing, or upgrading a certified EHR by 2016. It is the last year physicians may begin participation in the program to qualify for an incentive, which pays out until 2021.
    • Meaningful Use? Or Meaningless Abuse
      Despite the hard work of the Texas Medical Association and organized medicine, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services insists on moving ahead with Stage 3 of the meaningful use electronic health record (EHR) incentive program.
    • Marketing a Medical Practice Online Today Requires Social Media Engagement
      Beyond those do's and don'ts, doctors have a lot more to think about when building a modern online presence for their practice. The explosion of social media and the expectations of frequently refreshed content have changed the rules for physicians and practices looking to market themselves and bolster their online reputation. Just as static websites have become a relatively archaic part of the online equation, the marketing expectations for physician and practice websites have changed substantially.
    • Tell ONC Your EHR Complaints
      The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) oversees the certification of EHR products. They are interested in hearing your health IT-related concerns or complaints.
    • CMS: How to Report Only Once for PQRS, Meaningful Use, Other Programs
      According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), physicians who are beyond their first year of participation in the Medicare electronic health record incentive program have the option to streamline their reporting efforts and report quality data only once for several Medicare quality programs.
  • HIT Tools You Can Use

    • EHR Incentive Program Eligibility Tool
      Are you eligible or exempt? Use this tool from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine eligibility for both programs.
    • EHR Product Evaluation Tool
      Need help finding the right EMR for your practice? Texas Medical Association (TMA) physician members have overwhelmingly indicated to us they need help when it comes to health information technology. They specifically want help with electronic medical record (EMR) selection. TMA is here to help.
    • Learning Modules for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program
      The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has two computer-based learning tools to help physicians and hospitals participate in the Texas Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. The tools are interactive and self-guided with voice or closed-captioned narration.
    • 10 Tech Tips to Help Make Your EHR Bloom
      Has the notion of converting to an electronic health record (EHR) germinated among your practice plans? For this big changeover to bear fruit in your practice operations, you need to proceed with care. TMA has tools, guidance, and reference material — most are free — to help you produce your desired results.
    • Incentive Calculator
      Calculate your incentives with this tool created by the Harris County Medical Society (HCMS).   membersonlyred(2) 
    • EHR Buyer Beware: Issues to Consider When Contracting with EHR Vendors
      This paper discusses eight important EHR contract terms your medical practice should consider before signing an EHR contract.
    • EMR Readiness Assessment
      This readiness worksheet will provide you with an overview of your organization’s ability to successfully adopt an electronic medical record (EMR) solution.
    • HIPAA Security Risk Tool From HHS
      The Security Risk Assessment (SRA) tool helps small- to medium-sized practices conduct and document a risk assessment to determine potential HIPAA security risks and address them. The SRA website has user tutorials and videos available to help you get started.
    • Questions for EHR Vendors
      Learn some of the important questions to ask vendors during the selection process.
    • Questions for EHR Vendor References
      What questions should you ask when speaking to another practice that currently uses the EHR vendor you are considering?  
  • Advocacy

    • What has TMA done to advocate for physicians when it comes to health information technology?

      TMA comment letter to CMS regarding the certification frequency and requirements for the reporting of CMS quality measures (Feb. 1, 2016)

      Letter from Tom Garcia, MD to Senator John Cornyn regarding the Meaningful Use Program (Nov. 2, 2015)

      Letter from Matt Murray, MD, regarding TMA Advocacy on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015 - 2020

      TMA comment letter to CMS regarding modifications to meaningful use during 2015 to 2017 program years (June 15, 2015)

      TMA comment letter to CMS regarding Stage 3 Meaningful Use proposed rule (May 29, 2015)

      TMA comment letter to CMS regarding 2015 Certification of EHRs Criteria (proposed rules) (May 29, 2015) 

      TMA comment letter to ONC regarding the 2015 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan (Feb. 6, 2015)

      TMA comment letter to CMS regarding Stage 2 immediate measure suspension (Nov. 12, 2014)

      TMA Asks Feds for Emergency Halt of EHR Rules (Action, Aug. 1, 2014)

      TMA comment letter to CMS regarding EHR Program modifications (July 18, 2014)

      TMA comments on the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Health IT Report (July 7, 2014)

      TMA’s response to Representative Upton, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (June 2014)

      Committee on Energy and Commerce letter to ONC (June 3, 2014)

      TMA comments to Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) on the 2014 State HIE Plan (May 30, 2014)

      TMA letter to the ONC regarding voluntary 2015 edition EHR certification criteria proposed rule (April 28, 2014)

      TMA letter to CMS regarding the delay of Stage 2 meaningful use (Dec. 11, 2013)

      TMA comments to CMS regarding Stark Law exemption extension (June 10, 2013)

      TMA comments on Reboot: Re-examining the strategies needed to successfully adopt health IT (May 15, 2013)

      Stephen J. Stack, MD's testimony on EHRs and meaningful use - AMA (May 3, 2013)

      Senators Want HITECH Act Reviewed (Action, May 1, 2013)

      TMA letter to ONC RE: RFI -- Advancing Interoperability and Health Information Exchange (Apr. 22, 2013)

      TMA letter to ONC Re: RFI on Clinical Quality Measures and EHR reporting (April 8, 2013)

      TMA Wants HIT Safety Czar (Action, Feb. 15, 2013)

      TMA comments to ONC regarding HIT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan  (February 4, 2013)

      TMA comments to ONC regarding the Stage 3 definition of meaningful use of EHRs  (January 14, 2013)

      TMA comments to CMS on Stage 2 meaningful use (May 7, 2012)

      TMA comments to the ONC on the 2014 EHR Standards and Certification Criteria and proposed rule (May 7, 2012)

      TMA comments on meaningful use proposed rule (March 15, 2010)

      TMA Backs Safety in Meaningful Use (Action, Apr. 1, 2010)

      TMA, AMA Question HIT Incentives Timeline (Action, July 15, 2009)

      TMA Wants 'Meaningful Use' Meaningful (Action, July 15, 2009)

      What Stimulus Means to Texas Health Care (Action, Mar. 2, 1009)

      What's NOT in the Stimulus Bill (Action, Feb. 16, 2009)

  • Don’t miss out…

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a new listserv about the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. The listserv will provide timely, authoritative information about the programs, including registration and attestation updates, and details about the payment process.

    By subscribing to the listserv, CMS will keep you informed of upcoming deadlines and give you answers to the questions and concerns that they have gathered from eligible professionals and hospitals in the field. New updates will be emailed through the listserv to keep you informed of any developments, and subscribers will be notified of any new FAQ's that are published on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs’ website. 

    We encourage you to let others know about the CMS EHR listserv, and to share its messages. Click here to join the listserv and learn more.