Implications of Meaningful Use for dentist and cloud dental software

Kiltesh Patel
October 13, 2015 | 3 min read
meaningful use and cloud dental software


Meaningful Use is using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to: Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. Engage patients and family. Improve care coordination, and population and public health. Maintain privacy and security of patient health information.


CMS Medicare

Any provider who is paid through CMS Medicare program is required to report certain pre-defined objectives and clinical quality measures each year. 

Certified EHR must be used to accomplish these requriements. And non-conformance may result in penelty or reduced reimbursement.

Further, CMS Medicare pays $44,000 over 5 years as an incentive for the providers to use certified EHR. It will assist provider to offset the technology installation and operation cost.

CMS Medicaid

CMS Medicaid program - administred by each state, does NOT enforce such requirments. Hence, a provider paid through Medicaid will not have any such implications.

However, the provider has an opputunity to participate in state's Medicaid incentive program, which incentivizes a provider with $63,750 paid over 5 years (just like Mediaid). The requirment to qualify is to earn 30% of the revenue through Medicaid patients and certified EHR must be used to accomplish these requriements.

What type of reports are required by CMS?

There are required core measures, non-core measures and clinical quality measures which are required to be submitted each participating provider. It is beyond the scope of this blog to explain these measure; however, most dentist will have to request exceptions becuase clinical scope of work is limited and measures are much broader cinically, e.g measure for childhood obesity, heart failure, etc. Also, some required core measure will have no exception and must be reported; most dentist will have to change their operations to collect and report such data.

 Do I need to use certified EHR as it relates to Dental?

To answer this question, firstly, evaluate if you qualify for Medicare or Mediaid.

a) Medicare - If your practice bills to CMS Medicare then you must use certified EHR. There are very limited reimbursement code set for dental procedures in this program, and hence, most dentist do not qualify for these payments.

Answer: Not required; one can use low cost EHR with same/similar functionality at fraction of cost.

b) Medicaid - Do you earn 30% of the revenue through Medicaid patients and did NOT sign-up for the optional incentive program?

Answer:  Not required; one can use low cost EHR with same/similar functionality at fraction of cost.

Note: There is no penalty for not opting in the program. It does not require to report meaningful use measures even though a provider is paid for state mediaid for patient treatment.

c) Medicaid - Do you earn 30% of the revenue through Medicaid patients and sign-up in optional incentive program?

Answer: Certifed EHR is required.

Tip to the qulifiying providers:
Many vendors will try to sell certified EHR and lure into claiming FREE MONEY. Beaware, just like Wall Street saying "there are no free lunches", the cost of implementing and reporting is significant and it might end up even more.  

In conclusion, most dentist do not qualify in either program and are not require to use certified dental electronic health record (EHR).

For those who qualifies for the incentive be aware of pitfalls of implementation and operations cost.

For dentist, investment in certified EHR is expensive for a) most do not qualify for either program and b) most MU measures are excepiton to dentist. Hence, it is prudent not to invest or bare the cost which doesn't add value to the provider. 

There are many low cost cloud software EHR with same/similar features available in the market for dental practices which will cost fraction of the certified EHR.

tab32 is the only free cloud dental software EHR available to provider/practice with no strings attached or no hidden cost. Follow the button below to learn more about our free cloud dental EHR.

Learn More about Cloud EHR Dental Software


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