Stage 1 Laboratory Electronic Data Submission Frequently Asked Questions
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The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) address most of the information required for an eligible hospital (EH) or a critical access hospital (CAH) that chooses to meet the meaningful use Stage 1 requirements by submitting electronic laboratory results to a public health agency. This submission demonstrates meaningful use compliance with the electronic health record (EHR) technology, as required by the Health Information Technology of Economic and Clinical Care Act of 2009 (HITECH). Visit the eHealth web page for more information about meaningful use and for eHealth contact information if you still have other questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I submit the lab data?
To receive guidance on how to meet this objective, it is recommended that you contact your Local Health Department (LHD).
- If the LHD has the capacity to receive data: If the LHD has the capacity to receive electronic laboratory reporting data, it will inform you on how to send your data and how to receive confirmation of a successful test message.
- If the LHD does not have the capacity to receive data: If the LHD is not capable of receiving electronic laboratory reporting data, you may be advised to go to the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE) website for guidance on how to submit a test message. Since approximately 40% of California’s population does not reside in a jurisdiction covered by CalREDIE, it may not be an option for every EH or CAH. Therefore, contact the LHD first to see whether CalREDIE is a viable option for your jurisdiction. CalREDIE is able to receive electronic transmissions of laboratory data for most of the Title 17 reportable disease list data. Exceptions to this list include HIV and reportable cancers. CalREDIE is also fully equipped to handle any locally reportable disease if it is configured in the same file format as Title 17 data. Your LHD will inform you if you can submit locally reportable diseases to CalREDIE. Upon submission of a test message, you will receive an electronic acknowledgement from CalREDIE. Please note that EPs cannot choose the Electronic Laboratory Reporting requirement to fulfill Meaningful Use.
When may I submit the lab data?
Medicare meaningful use reporting timelines and other important dates may be found at the Centers for Medicare and Medi-Cal (CMS) web site.
Medi-Cal meaningful use reporting timelines and other important dates may be found at the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) web site.
What type of lab data should I submit?
For guidance on lab data to be submitted, refer to the Reportable Infectious Diseases: Reporting by Laboratories (PDF)from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Division of Communicable Disease Control.
In addition to statewide reportable diseases, please contact your LHD to see if there are additional diseases that must be reported at the local level.
For my test message, may I submit “dummy” data instead of “real” lab data from an actual patient?
Yes. The use of test information about a fictional patient that would be reporting the same data elements sent as that of an actual patient would satisfy this objective.
If my EHR technology is capable of submitting batch files to CalREDIE or my public health agency, is that sufficient for demonstrating compliance with the meaningful use certification criterion?
CalREDIE is not currently able to receive batch files.
For local health departments not using CalREDIE, please contact your LHD regarding its ability to receive batch files.
What do I do if my public health agency is not able to receive my data?
CalREDIE has the capacity to receive electronic lab reporting (ELR) required by public health authorities in California. For local health departments not using CalREDIE, please contact that LHD as to the status of their ability to receive data.
Where may I test my lab data submission?
ELR submitters may enroll in CalREDIE ELR for testing and continued ELR submissions. Please consult the CalREDIE ELR web page for details.
For local health departments not using CalREDIE, please contact your LHD as to the status of their ability to receive lab data testing.
What if my submission fails?
A failed attempt would meet the measure. EHs, and CAHs should work with their vendors and the receiving entities with whom they tested to identify the source of the failure and develop remedies. However, for Stage 1 of meaningful use, a failed attempt would meet the requirements.
When do I attest to Meaningful Use?
Start and end dates to attest for the EHR Incentive Program are different for Medicare versus Medi-Cal programs.
The CMS website lists meaningful use reporting timelines and other important dates for both programs.
How do I attest for meeting Meaningful Use?
CMS and Medi-Cal will accept a yes/no attestations to verify that EHs or CAHs have fulfilled the objective and measure of submitting electronic lab results in the first year reporting period. For auditing purposes, CMS also indicates that all providers attesting to receive an EHR incentive payment for either Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs should retain ALL relevant supporting documentation, in either paper or electronic format, used in the completion of the Attestation Module responses. Documentation to support the attestation should be retained for six years post-attestation. Documentation to support payment calculations (such as cost report data) should continue to follow the current documentation retention processes.
Please contact the CalREDIE web page or your local health department for appropriate documentation to support attestation for this Meaningful Use objective.
Medicare EHs and CAHs
Visit the CMS website
for more information on attestation.
CMS has prepared a Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator
to assist you prior to submitting your attestation to see if you would be able to meet all of the necessary measures to successfully demonstrate meaningful use and qualify for an EHR incentive payment.
Also, review the CMS Attestation User Guide (PDF, 6.4 MB)
for hospitals and CAHs to provide step-by-step instructions for login and completing attestation. For the public health objectives, see pages 19 to 23 of the user guide.
Medi-Cal EHs and CAHs
To whom do I send my attestation?
Medicare EHs and CAHs must submit attestations through the CMS web-based Registration and Attestation System.
Medi-Cal EHs and CAHs must submit attestations to DHCS.
I have heard that States can change the requirements for submitting lab results as an objective for the Medi-Cal Incentive Program. Has California changed any requirements for submission of lab results?
No. While states do have the option to modify requirements for public health objectives/measures such as immunization information submission under the Medi-Cal Incentive Program, California has not modified any requirements to date.
What are the CMS regulations with which I must comply to fulfill the public health objective of submitting lab results to public health agencies?
The CMS objective requires that EHs and CAHs must perform at least one test of the certified EHR technology's capacity to provide electronic submission or reportable lab results to a public health agency and follow-up submissions if the test is successful.
For the EH and CAH objective and measure related to this requirement, refer to page 44570 of the CMS Final Rules, 42 CFR 495.6(g)(9).
Also refer to the CMS Final Rules for the EHR Incentive Program.
What is the link to the CMS Frequently Asked Questions regarding meaningful use?
CMS Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) regulations with which I must comply to fulfill the public health objective of submitting lab results to public health agencies?
ONC regulations refer to standards and specifications of the EHR technology itself, rather than the actions of healthcare providers. For more details, please refer to the ONC Final Rule on Standards and Certifications.
What is the link to the ONC Frequently Asked Questions regarding meaningful use?
ONC Regulations Frequently Asked Questions
What is the link to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Frequently Asked Questions regarding meaningful use?
ASTHO Frequently Asked Questions About Meaningful Use
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