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CJyunltiehi Wa Loeltoenrhard
Seven for 11: Attesting to Meaningful Use
Ms. Leonhard Goes
In January, stage 1 of the meaningful use financial incentive program began. Healthcare
organizations throughout the country are creating new policies and investing in technology systems to meet meaningful use guidelines. Along the way, organizations are making
decisions that will impact their HIM processes and workflow. Are you involved in those
The opportunity was once-in-a-career.
Melbourne, FL, based healthcare organization Health First had given Cynthia
Leonhard, RHIA, the clearance to take
three weeks off from her matrix HIM
manager position in order to complete
her bachelor’s degree program’s professional practice experience (PPE). While
some would have looked into completing their PPE internship down the street,
Leonhard thought big.
Don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity to help shape policies, said Meg McElroy,
RHIA, MBA, program manager, ARRA & ICD- 10 at Ascension Health in St. Louis, MO,
which is the country’s largest Catholic healthcare system. Her program provides oversight
and guidance on ARRA activities to its health ministries throughout 17 states as they
prepare to attest to stage 1.
“Assert yourself. Don’t let the process be decided for you or wait for someone to call you.
Otherwise you’ll be sitting as an HIM leader with processes that you had no input in,
but that you are going to be held accountable for,” said McElroy, who is a member of the
AHIMA Meaningful Use Stage Two work group.
Here are seven actions you can take in 2011 to prepare for meeting stage 1 meaningful use
Always interested in the HIM policy
making and regulations of Washington,
DC, Leonhard traveled 900 miles north to
conduct her PPE in AHIMA’s DC office.
The experience was life changing, she
said. “I learned more things than I ever
could have imagined,” Leonhard said.
1. Learn the meaningful use program. Last July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) published the final rule and the Office of the National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology (ONC) published a companion final rule describing the
standards, specifications, and certification criteria for EHRs. Here are some basics.
• The three-stage program gives Medicare and Medicaid bonuses to eligible professionals and hospitals who demonstrate “meaningful use” of certified electronic health
record technology. Some differences exist between the timelines for Medicare and
Medicaid meaningful use programs.
For three weeks in June 2010, Leonhard
interned at AHIMA’s DC office. Her main
project involved helping the AHIMA staff
• Registration opened in January. To be eligible, a professional or hospital must participate in one or more Medicare or Medicaid programs.
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