Loan

Credit News

Personal Grants – Government Grants for Personal Use and Business Grants #bad #credit #unsecured #loans


#government personal loans
#

Personal Grants and Loans From Government and Foundations – For A Wide Range Of Financial Situations!

As long as you can meet the Foundations criteria, the money is yours to keep and never has to be paid back. These personal grants are non taxable interest free.

In spite of the perception that people should not look to the government for help, the government is available to help! Not only for people in need, but is their for the vast majority of Americans that want to better their lives and improve their financial situation.

Personal grant programs and government personal grants do not require credit checks, collateral, security deposits or co-signers, even if you have a bankruptcy or bad credit, you as a tax payer and U.S. citizen are entitled to apply for this money.

Purchase your dream home or get money for home improvements, go to college, help with personal expenses and much more!

We provide you with step by step instructions on how to write and even word your proposal. Also included with every order is a consultation with our grant writing expert.

Learn how to file your online personal grants application now! Take advantage of this opportunity! This is your tax money!

GET OUR FREE CD ON: FREE GRANT MONEY


What Is Home Equity? What can you Use it For? #pay #day #loans


#home equity loan
#

What is Home Equity?

By Justin Pritchard. Banking/Loans Expert

Justin Pritchard helps consumers navigate the world of banking.

Home equity is your share of the value of your home. It’s what you truly own and have an interest in. When calculating your net worth and getting a loan, home equity is important to understand. It’s not always easy to use home equity, but it’s still an asset.

An Example

Assume you bought a house for $200,000, made a 20% down payment. and got a loan to cover the rest. In this example, your home equity interest is 20% of the home’s value: the home is worth $200,000 and you contributed $40,000 – or 20%. You own the home, but you really only own $40,000 worth of it.

It might be easier to think about home equity in terms of what you owe instead of what you’ve contributed. Prices change over time. You can figure out how much home equity you have by subtracting any money you owe from the home’s value.

The home is worth $200,000, but you owe $160,000. The loan balance is 80% of your home’s value, so the remaining 20% is your home equity.

Now assume your home’s value doubles (unlikely, but it’ll keep the numbers simple). If it’s worth $400,000 and you still only owe $160,000, you have a 60% equity stake. Your loan balance hasn’t changed, but your home equity increased.

Building Home Equity

As you repay your home loan, your home equity generally increases. With each monthly payment, you pay a little bit of interest and you reduce your loan balance.

Continue Reading Below

Over time, more and more goes towards your loan balance – increasing your home equity interest at an increasing rate.

As the previous example showed, you can also increase equity if the value of your home increases.

What is Home Equity Used For?

Equity is an asset, so it’s a part of your total net worth. You can spend it someday if you need to. You might use it to buy your next home, to fund your retirement, or to pay for a child s education. It’s a large and important asset, so choose wisely.

When you get a second mortgage, you borrow against your home’s equity (second mortgages are also known as home equity loans ). It’s nice to have a large pool of money to draw from, but home equity loans can be dangerous. Your home serves as collateral for these loans. If you can’t repay, your lender can potentially foreclose and you d lose your home.

In the 2008 mortgage crisis, some people found that they relied too heavily on home equity: as equity increased, borrowers withdrew as much of it as they could in the form of cash. Unfortunately, equity from price appreciation can evaporate just as easily as it materializes. It s risky to scrape out as much as you can from your home s value.


USE Credit Union – Loans – Home Equity Loans #no #credit #auto #loans


#best home loans
#

Home Equity Loans

Affordable Financing Has A New Home: Yours!

Using your hard-earned savings for major expenses doesn t always make sense especially with interest rates at all-time lows. A better solution for most homeowners is a Home Equity Line of Credit or a fixed-rate Home Equity Loan two smart ways to use the equity in your home to get the cash you need. Use the money for remodeling projects, home repairs, a major purchase, emergencies, or to pay off higher-rate debt.

Home Equity Line of Credit

If you think you re borrowing needs will vary over time, a Home Equity Line of Credit is a good choice. It s flexible and can be customized to fit your budget and lifestyle. Simply establish your account today and use the funds as you need them.

  • Get up to $250,000 for any personal reason
  • Low variable rate based on the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate
  • Low interest-only payment options available
  • No points or origination fees
  • Tax-deductible interest for most homeowners
  • Easy checkbook access to your funds
  • Low minimum monthly payments

Fixed-Rate Home Equity Loan

If you need money for a one-time expense, a fixed-rate Home Equity Loan may be your best option. It s perfect for home remodeling or repairs, or anytime you need a lump-sum of cash.

  • Get up to $250,000 for any personal reason
  • Low fixed rate and low monthly payments
  • Flexible repayment terms — up to 25 years
  • No pre-payment penalty
  • Tax-deductible interest for most homeowners
  • Low minimum monthly payments
  • Minimal Fees

It s easy to get started. There s no application fee and you can apply online or at your USE branch. Still have questions? Call our Member Service Center at 866.873.4968 during regular business hours.

All loans subject to credit approval. Rates, terms, and conditions subject to change without notice. Must be owner-occupied, single-family residence or 1-4 story condominium in California only.

Home Equity Line of Credit Special Terms

If you close your line within three years of origination, an Early Account Closure Fee of $500 may be assessed. A Reconveyance Fee is charged when your line is closed and your balance is paid in full. The $50 Annual Fee is waived the first year and assessed on your anniversary date any year thereafter your balance falls below $10,000. USE will cover the following closing costs (fees): flood certification, title insurance, escrow, credit report, condo processing, mortgage recording, notary, trust documentation, release of third-party mortgage and an Automated Value Method (AVM). An optional appraisal may be requested at any time, the borrower will be required to pay the cost. Consult your tax advisor for potential tax deductibility.


Meaningful use creates consulting boom #meaningful #use #consultants


#

Demand for meaningful use help has exploded, increasing competition between third-party consulting firms-most of whom are excelling in MU-related work, according to a new report from research firm KLAS.

Most providers have not attested for meaningful use Stage 1, most frequently citing quality measures and reporting as their biggest challenges, the report notes. That has them increasingly reaching out to consultants for assistance, according to the KLAS report Rapid Growth of Meaningful Use Consulting: Why Providers Are Reaching Out.

User adoption, software upgrades, and updates also rank high among the challenges providers cite for implementing electronic medical records.

One CFO said, We were struggling to do the implementation ourselves, and I ultimately bit the bullet and hired [a consulting firm] to come in and help us get our act together. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my professional career. ??

KLAS identifies a total of 51 firms that have conducted at least one MU-related project, engaging in everything from strategic advisory services and lead roles in implementations to supporting implementation engagements and to implementation and staff augmentation projects. Most firms are performing well and are satisfying healthcare provider expectations, according to KLAS. More than half (61 percent) of the ranked firms in the KLAS report achieved a score of 89 out of 100 or above.

The KLAS report distinguishes firms by the services they offer, the vendors they focus on, and their performance.

It also discusses providers’ biggest MU needs, which firms fill those needs, the market trends, and the future outlook on the market. Beyond attesting for Stage 1, healthcare providers are looking to consulting firms to partner with as they navigate years of upcoming regulations and potential policy changes, according to the report.


How to Use TSP to Purchase Your First Home #free #loan #calculator


#tsp loan
#

How to Use TSP to Purchase Your First Home

by Mark Kennan

You’ll owe extra tax penalties if you take an early TSP distribution.

TSP Loan

Complete the TSP application, including the amount you want to borrow from the defined contribution retirement savings plan. Loans are limited to no more than $50,000. You may be able to apply online or by using the TSP-20 form. Do not send in documentation of your home purchase with the loan application.

Trending in Your Area

Decorating Bathroom Mirrors

Decorating bathroom mirrors is something that you can.


  • How to Decorate Stairwells

    When decorating stairwells, one element that you can.


  • The Best Feng Shui Colors for a South-Facing.

    The best Feng Shui colors for a south-facing entrance.


  • Should You Use Credit Card Rewards to Pay Auto, Student Loans? #law #school #loans


    #credit card loan
    #

    Should You Use Credit Card Rewards to Pay Auto, Student Loans?

    There are currently several credit cards that allow you to use your cash-back rewards to pay your mortgage. These include the Wells Fargo Home Rebate card, and all of the Citi cards that earn ThankYou points. Additionally, the Upromise and Sallie Mae cards from Barclaycard US allow you to use cash back rewards to pay down student loans.  Now Wells Fargo is planning to introduce similar products that deliver cash-back rewards toward car or student loan payments.

    Is This Good for Cardholders?

    Wells Fargo has indicated that it is moving in this direction in order to encourage its customers to increase their credit card use. In addition, it hopes that these new products will appeal to consumers who have grown wary of taking on debt .

    Even if this strategy proves successful for Wells Fargo, will consumers be better off using a credit card that directs all rewards toward loan repayments?

    Here are a few things that cardholders should consider before committing to this strategy.

    Are you carrying a balance?

    As with any rewards card, those that pay down debt will have a higher interest rate than cards that offer no rewards. Furthermore, it makes little sense to pay down debts such as a mortgage or car loan with a relatively low rate, while carrying a balance on a credit card with a higher rate.

    See How Your Debt Profile Compares Get your FREE Credit Score & personalized Action Plan. See where you stand & learn ways to better manage your debt. FREE and updated every 30 days.

    Are you receiving a competitive rate of return?

    The Wells Fargo Home Rebate card returns a strong 3% rebate for purchases at gas stations, groceries and drug stores, but only for the first six months after opening an account. After that, all purchases receive only 1% cash back. In contrast, Capital One recently introduced its Quicksilver card that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

    Is loan repayment the best use of your cash-back rewards?

    In most instances, consumers are right to avoid debt and repay their loans as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, there are times when it makes more sense to invest money. For example, many homeowners received extremely low interest rates in the past few years and can now earn higher rates of return on their investments than they are saving on interest payments. The fact that taxpayers can deduct interest from most home mortgages and some student loans further reduces the savings generated by early repayment. Furthermore, the Fidelity Rewards American Express card offers 2% cash back as payments towards qualifying investment accounts in their brokerage. This is double the rate of the Wells Fargo Home Rebate card.

    Are you disciplined enough to make additional loan payments?

    If you are able to find a cash-back card with a greater rate of return than a card that directly repays the loan, you can simply make loan payments using those funds. One way is to track your cash-back rewards each month and make an identical loan payment. Another is to estimate your annual rewards and set up a payment plan that represents your average month s rewards.

    It is nice to see banks using their creativity to offer innovative products designed to help cardholders reduce their debt, not increase it. But before cardholders jump on this bandwagon (or stagecoach ), they should consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of these products.

    Image: iStockphoto

    Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Get the latest tips & advice from our team of 50+ credit & money experts, delivered to you via email each week. Sign up now .

    Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

    Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and personal finance since 2008, poring through the terms and conditions of credit card agreements to understand the minutiae of how these products work. His work has appeared on Yahoo, MSN, HuffingtonPost and other major news outlets. In his free time, Jason’s a commercial pilot. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in History. More by Jason Steele

    Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.


    How to Pay Online With Debit or Credit Cards (Safely) #is #it #safe #to #use #a #debit #card #online


    #

    Tips for Using a Debit Card Online

    Updated May 09, 2017

    Your debit card makes it easy to spend from your checking account, and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere credit cards are accepted. But if you have the option to use a credit card, it’s probably safer to use credit — especially when shopping online.

    How to Use a Debit Card Online

    1. Enter the number: Provide your debit card number. which is a 16-digit number if you have Visa, Mastercard, or Discover. Again, you can enter a debit card number even if the merchant asks for a “credit card.”
    1. Verify details: In addition to a card number, most merchants require some sort of verification to reduce the chances of fraud. To do so, enter the security code (usually on the back of your card ) and any address information required – the zip code you enter must match the address on file with your bank.

    Unlike purchases at a checkout counter, you will not need to provide your PIN. Online purchases will be processed as a “credit” transaction. and funds will be deducted from your checking account within a few business days.

    Debit accepted? There are a few situations when an actual credit card is required (some hotel and rental car agencies will only accept a credit card – or they’ll lock up funds in your checking account ), but debit cards are fine for most transactions. Most online services like iTunes and Netflix will accept either, and they won t know or care that you re using a debit card.

    Debit cards are good tools for keeping your costs low and managing your money. They don’t come with the high monthly fees commonly found on credit cards, and they don’t allow you to rack up debt at high interest rates. However, there are benefits to using credit cards.

    When Credit Cards Are Better

    Just because you can order online with a debit card online doesn’t mean you should .

    Shopping online exposes you to certain risks, especially the risk that your card information will be stolen (that risk also exists in brick-and-mortar stores, but it’s not as easy for hackers to snatch your data).

    Direct link to checking: Your debit card pulls funds directly from your checking account. If somebody uses your card number to make fraudulent purchases, your account will get drained. That means it’ll be harder (or impossible) to pay for your expenses, like rent, mortgage, utilities, and food.

    If your card information is used fraudulently, you might be protected under federal law, but getting that money back into your bank account is a painful and slow process.

    If running out of money in your checking account would be a problem, use a credit card for everyday purchases instead.

    Credit cards create a buffer: A credit card creates a debt that you have to repay, but it doesn’t pull money out of your checking account without your knowledge. Thieves spend the card issuer’s money instead of yours, and you can get everything cleared up while keeping your checking account untouched. In other words, credit cards add an extra layer between thieves and your money. What’s more, when your credit card is used fraudulently, your liability is limited to $50, while debit card fraud can cost a lot more (especially if you don’t report fraudulent activity quickly enough).

    How to Stay Safe Using Your Debit Card

    To reduce the likelihood of problems, follow some basic security rules.

    1. Look for the lock: Make sure you’re shopping on a secure website, especially when it’s time to enter your card number. Look for the lock icon in your browser and pay attention to any security warnings that pop up.
    2. Monitor your account: It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on your money, and it’s especially important if you’re sharing account information online. Check on your accounts regularly (once per month is a bare minimum — more often is better). Set up alerts in your account so you know when money goes out.
    3. Use secure connections: Mobile devices and free Wi-Fi make it easy to get things done. But you never know how secure a public hotspot is. If you’re going to access financial accounts or punch in card numbers, save those tasks for when you’re at home or work and you know your traffic is safe.

    Debit Card Protection

    Federal law offers some protection against fraud in your checking account, but you have to report trouble as soon as possible. If you spot the problem and notify your bank, your liability can be limited:

    • You’re liable for up to $50 if you call your bank within two days of fraudulent use.
    • You’re responsible for up to $500 if you report the problem within 60 days.
    • You can be held 100% responsible if you don’t report the problem within 60 days.

    Some debit cards come with additional protection from the card issuer, so you’re safer than federal law requires. These services are often called “zero liability” policies or similar.

    However, your card still pulls from your checking account – so you’ll have to wait at least a few days to get your money back. If your checking account is running on empty, that’s going to cause a domino effect.

    If you re using a prepaid debit card (as opposed to one that came with your checking account), you might have less protection than described above — so be sure to research your card s policies before using it online.

    Is Online Really More Dangerous?

    Using a debit card online isn’t the only way to get ripped off. Thieves can steal your card information from brick-and-mortar stores, ATMs, gas pumps, or just about anywhere. They might pull it off with the help of a skimming device or by hacking into a merchant’s payment system remotely.

    Given all that, you shouldn’t necessarily fear punching in your debit card number online — shopping is quite safe on secured websites. But if you have the option, a credit card is better for everyday spending (and online purchases) — just be sure to pay the card off every month so you don’t pay finance charges. Especially if you’re not familiar with the merchant or you’re not shopping at a major website, it’s risky to provide any type of card number. If you want to be extra safe, add another layer between you and the merchant and pay with PayPal or a similar (but trustworthy) service.


    How SMEs Can Use Property Loans to Lower Their Borrowing Costs #small #business #funding


    #low interest rate personal loans
    #

    How SMEs Can Use Property Loans to Lower Their Borrowing Costs Propwise.sg Monday, 16 November, 2015

    Aktive Learning

    By Paul Ho (guest contributor)

    Singapore’s SMEs makes up 99% of all enterprises, employ 66% of the workforce and account for 48% of the GDP. SMEs are defined as having revenues of less than $100m and with a staff of less than 200.

    Singapore has narrowly averted a technical recession. But the PMI is below 50%, indicating a contraction in the manufacturing sector.

    Figure 1: Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM)

    SMEs have limited access to loans during tough times

    A drop off in demand means that companies are hardly growing their top lines and may go into the red. This is especially true for SMEs with less than $10m in revenues.

    Figure 2: Singapore Quarterly GDP Growth rate (TradingEconomics, SingStats)

    Singapore’s corporate default rate of Corporations listed on the SGX is below 2%. SMEs likely have a higher default rate of at least 3 to 4%.

    Figure 3: Corporate NPL Ratio, Financial Stability Review 2014, MAS

    During the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, Singapore’s SMEs experienced a limited access to capital and funding. This led the government to enhance the various schemes that are in place to help SMEs retain access to credit. Most of these schemes involve the government risk-sharing with the banks on loans to SMEs.

    In short, this means that during tough times the banks cut back on SME lending exposure due to the potentially higher Non-Performing Loan risks. Hence funds will likely dry up during uncertain economic periods when SMEs need credit the most. Hence SMEs will be exposed to elevated funding disruption risks and increased cost of funding during recessionary periods, and need to take action now to secure funding.

    Discerning future interest rate trends by looking at the bond yield curve

    The bond yield curve gradient has become less steep, indicating slower growth. There is also higher mid and long term interest rate expectations, indicating inflation expectations or simply a higher interest rate environment. The 20 year Bond is currently at 2.9%.

    Figure 4: Singapore Bond Yield Curve End 2014 versus Nov 2015, Asian Development Bank

    Hierarchy of Borrowing Costs: Secured versus Unsecured Loans

    The impending weakness in the economy poses greater risks to SMEs than to large corporations.

    Secured lending refers to lending in which an asset is pledged. Secured lending presents less risk to the lender and hence they charge lower interest rates.

    Unsecured lending does not require pledged assets. Hence this presents greater risk to lenders and are more expensive. Small businesses usually have fewer assets to collateralize against and hence use secure loans less frequently. Unsecured Business Term Loan rates for SMEs are usually in the 10+% range, depending on loan size as well as tenure.

    The Micro Loan Program by Spring Singapore is also a good source of funding. However, not many companies qualify, and for those who qualify, they may not be able to obtain the maximum $100,000 loan. Interest costs start from 5.5% with up to a four year tenure.

    Problems faced by SMEs and their owners in obtaining credit

    Many SMEs may not have the right financing or salary structure. SME bosses tend to under-declare their income and instead declare dividends. Whilst this reduces their taxable income, with the new Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) rule, this also impedes many SME bosses from borrowing more to buy their homes.

    SMEs are suffering a margin squeeze. Faced with borrowing costs of around 10%, labour costs that are 5 to 10% of revenue, and other operating costs which could take up another 5 to 15% of revenue, these businesses need a gross margin in excess of 30% just to break even. Not many industries can offer gross margins in excess of 30%. Hence SMEs are especially sensitive to top line growth for those with 20+ to 40% gross margins.

    With market uncertainty, access to funds for SMEs could be even more restricted in the coming one to two years.

    How can SMEs overcome high cost of funding issues?

    SME bosses should start to realize that under-declaration of income impedes borrowing and start to rectify this situation to reflect their true income. While it is important to have a tax efficient salary structure using a combination of Salary, Director Fees and Dividends, it is worthwhile to review this to be eligible for adequate funding.

    SMEs, especially those whose directors who are currently in their late 30s and early 40s and who have bought their own residential homes, could be sitting on tied up equity in their properties. Residential home loan rates are around 2%. They could free up this capital by refinancing their homes and use the money to invest prudently in their own business. With this reduced cost of funding, the business owners could immediately save

    10% off borrowing costs.

    Case Study: SME owned by 2 Directors and 3 Shareholders

    Does it make sense to borrow against your home for a company in which you’re only one of the many directors?

    In this case I came across, the company had two directors and three shareholders. The two Directors owned 35% each of the business, while the rest of the shareholders held 10% each.

    They needed $500,000 of funds for business expansion.

    We advised the firm to structure a Director’s resolution to approve the company to request for a Shareholder Loan to the company at a 5% interest rate. The two major shareholders cum Directors held 70% of the shares, and hence were allotted $350,000 of the loan amount. Shareholders or Directors who did not wish to lend to the company at the approved 5% interest rate may give up their allotment. The unused allotment may be used by the other directors/shareholders equally.

    These two major shareholders then refinanced their residential property loan with a cash out (equity term loan) of $400,000 at 1.8% interest. They then lent their company $400,000 at a 5% interest, making a decent return on their loan to their own company. Another two shareholders took up their allotment and lent the company $100,000 at the same 5% interest.

    In this way, the company had access to cheaper capital, boosting its chances of survival and creating a fair debt offering for all directors and/or shareholders who wanted to participate. It’s similar to preferential bonds which only Directors and shareholders can participate in.

    SUMMARY

    SME owners should get their personal income structure right to optimize for both tax efficiency and borrowing capacity. They can then leverage on cheaper secured mortgages to free up equity from their house to lower their business borrowing costs by structuring a Director’s Loan to company.

    In order to lock in low rates from the residential property equity loan (cash out), it might be safer for SME owners to consider a three to five year fixed rate structure to hedge against rising interest rates.

    Investors with at least $300,000 of spare cash could also get in on the game to bridge the gap left behind by banks and lend to growing companies who can afford to pay 14 to 18% per annum in interest costs. But thorough risk assessment needs to be done to minimize default rates. Convertible loans can also be structured to give investors additional upside if there is a liquidity event (e.g. acquisition).

    By Paul Ho, holder of an MBA from a reputable university and editor of www.iCompareLoan.com. Singapore’s first Cloud-based Home Loan reporting platform used by Property agents, financial advisors as well as Mortgage brokers. Posted courtesy of www.Propwise.sg. a Singapore property blog dedicated to helping you understand the real estate market and make better decisions. Click here to get your free Property Beginner’s and Buyer’s Guide .


    What is meaningful use? Definition from #cms #ehr #meaningful #use


    #

    meaningful use

    Meaningful use (MU), in a health information technology (HIT) context, defines minimum U.S. government standards for using electronic health records (EHR ) and for exchanging patient clinical data between healthcare providers, between healthcare providers and insurers, and between healthcare providers and patients.

    Download this free guide

    Healthcare Compliance Essential Guide Collection

    OCR, CMS, ONC…the list of agencies and regulatory bodies that govern the use of health IT in the U.S. goes on. Download this essential guide collection now for an overview of these compliance resources, and make sure you stay compliant in this evolving health IT landscape.

    By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.

    You also agree that your personal information may be transferred and processed in the United States, and that you have read and agree to the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy .

    Its rules, known as meaningful use measures or meaningful use criteria, determine whether or not a healthcare provider may receive federal funds from the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program or both, in cases of dually eligible practitioners (EP) and eligible hospitals (EH).

    Meaningful use stage 1, stage 2, stage 3

    Meaningful use is divided into three stages. Stage 1. which began in 2010, focused on promoting adoption of EHRs. Stage 2. finalized in late 2012, increases thresholds of criteria compliance and introduces more clinical decision support, care-coordination requirements and rudimentary patient engagement rules. Stage 3. which the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services (CMS) rulemakers are writing from late 2014 through early-to-mid 2016, will focus on robust health information exchange as well as other more fully formed meaningful use guidelines introduced in earlier stages.

    According to the provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH ) Act of 2009, organizations that are eligible for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and achieve meaningful use by 2014 will be eligible for incentive payments; those who have failed to achieve that standard by 2015 will be penalized, unless Congress overrides that portion of the 2009 HITECH Act that codified CMS’s rulemaking timeline into law.

    While meaningful use is voluntary, it is often referred to as a carrot-and-stick program whose penalties provide a strong economic compulsion to participate. Penalties against Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for skipping meaningful use will increase in each successive year, expressed as a payment adjustment or reduction of a provider’s reimbursement for care provided to Medicare or Medicaid patients. If fewer than 75% of EPs have become meaningful users of EHRs by 2018, the adjustment will change by 1% point each year to a maximum of 5%.

    But because the meaningful use program is technically voluntary, meaningful use criteria are considered to be guidelines, as opposed to meaningful use regulations.

    ONC Meaningful Use Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT)

    Healthcare providers can only prove compliance with meaningful use while using government-certified EHR technology, commonly referred to as CEHRT. Meaningful use criteria for healthcare providers are written by CMS, with input from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). EHR vendors, however, get their systems certified under rules written by the ONC, which currently are updated yearly. Some years CEHRT rules are voluntary, in other years they’re mandatory.

    CMS has indicated that all CEHRT rules, in the future, may be tied to one or more of its provider reimbursement programs beyond meaningful use, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), a voluntary program that rewards providers who can prove they meet specific care-quality measures.

    The net effect of requiring meaningful use CEHRT for other programs will be de facto forcing vendors to certify their EHRs in years when CEHRT rules are voluntary, if they want to hold on to customers in the programs for whichCMS requires CEHRT such as, potentially, PQRS.

    Meaningful use attestation, meaningful use penalties, meaningful use audits

    To have received the maximum reimbursement, physicians and hospitals must have attested (essentially, swearing to a CMS website that one has met all of the criteria for a particular stage) stage 1 of meaningful use of EHR for at least a 90-day period within the 2011 or 2012 federal fiscal year and for the entire year thereafter.

    While there is little validation required to attest to meaningful use, providers who have attested are subject to random audits, sometimes before CMS cuts their next incentive check, sometimes after the fact. Keeping detailed documentation proving meaningful use is essential to passing the audits and keeping EHR incentive program funds. Many providers who have failed audits as of late 2014 have done so because of inadequate or nonexistent HIPAA risk assessments, which are required under meaningful use.

    Those eligible for the Medicaid program must demonstrate meaningful use by 2016 in order to receive incentive payments. Many healthcare providers attested to stage 1 in its early years in order to receive the maximum incentives from Medicare, Medicaid or both; in 2015 and 2016, many of these providers are expected to drop out as stage 2 attestation becomes due, because of the difficulty in attesting. Those who have attested cite the view, download and transmit criteria as well as care-coordination criteria to be the most difficult with which to comply.

    Recent changes to meaningful use stage 2 and stage 3 timelines

    To help potential program dropouts stay in the program, CMS adjusted timelines for meaningful use. In a 2014 final rule, CMS extend Stage 2 through 2016 and delayed the start of Stage 3 until 2017. These proposed changes, CMS said, would address concerns raised by stakeholders and will encourage the continued adoption of Certified EHR Technology.

    Further changes may be legislated by Congress if bills up for consideration become law. For example, beginning in 2015, all eligible hospitals and professionals on the Medicare EHR Incentive Program side must use CEHRT based on 2014 standards. And, to attest to stage 2 and avoid future penalties, they must attest for the full calendar 2015. The Flex-IT bill before Congress, advocated by many healthcare providers, proposes reducing that to 90 days, pegged to any calendar quarter.

    This was last updated in May 2010

    Continue Reading About meaningful use

    Related Terms

    meaningful use stage 3 Meaningful use stage 3 is the third phase of the federal incentive program that details requirements for the use of electronic. See complete definition Meditech (Medical Information Technology Inc.) Meditech (Medical Information Technology Inc.) is an electronic health record vendor that holds a 19% market share in the. See complete definition US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a cabinet-level agency in the executive branch of the federal. See complete definition

    PRO+

    Content


    Meaningful Use Consulting #meaningful #use #consultants


    #

    Meaningful Use Consulting

    1-800-362-2320 or 1-608-274-1940, ext. 8252

    MetaStar’s Meaningful Use (MU) consulting services efficiently guide your practice, clinic, hospital or hospital system through the complex federal requirements of any stage of MU. MetaStar has helped more than 2,000 providers attest to MU as Wisconsin’s Regional Extension Center since 2010 and continues to provide attestation assistance and audit preparation as a consulting service.

    Please note if you have formerly participated in the Medicare EHR incentive program, as of January 2017 that program has been transitioned to the Quality Payment Program. For more information, click here .

    Our service can include:

    • Onsite consulting services
    • Access to our online resource center and meaningful use help desk
    • Attestation assistance for any stage of meaningful use
    • Planning for electronic health record (EHR) implementation (your first or a new EHR)
    • EHR vendor selection assistance
    • Project management
    • Workflow redesign
    • MU measure education
    • An action plan tailored to your organization’s response to meaningful use audits
    • A mock audit to ensure your organization is prepared
    • Assistance during an audit to aid in an efficient, correct response

    Get Meaningful Use Assistance

    For providers enrolled in Wisconsin Medicaid, consulting services may be available at no cost to you.