Washington State and Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use is coming to Washington State. Are you ready? If you are hoping to qualify for WA State Medicaid MU incentives under ARRA / HITECH, then April is the expected launch date of the State Medicaid program. We’re all waiting (on pins and needles) for the release of the SMHP (that’s the State Medicaid Health IT Plan) and when it gets published, Washington will be ready to start administration of the Federal Medicaid MU program. For those that might say, it’s about time, remember this; it’s a voluntary program. State’s don’t actually have to participate. And let’s be honest – it is a lot of work. The state is going to have to figure out how to audit this thing. 30% volume threshold? How do I calculate that in a managed care setting?

The State does have to comply with federal statute after all. That means reading pretty much every page of the the 275 odd pages in the Final Rule. Oh, and then actually understanding those pages. And wait, there’s more. Interpretation. Yes, believe or not, the federal statutory “intent” isn’t always imminently clear to those on the ground who must implement the legislation. And who is doing all of this? It’s probably just a handful of people (less than you might think), just like you and me, putting in long hours, doing good work, and dealing with lots of competing objectives. So, to all those out there, wading through obtuse  language, painful paragraphs, and cryptic sentences  – thank you; keep up the good work.