The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is in the final testing stages for systems to manage the registration, attestation and payments to healthcare providers participating in the meaningful use program. According to an article in Government Health IT, the CMS administrative systems are due to go into production in January, when the incentive program kicks off, Providers who want to be eligible for the incentives must register through the agency’s Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS), which is available online through the CMS Web site. PECOS manages, tracks and validates the enrollment of providers and suppliers in the Medicare program. CMS will open registration for the incentive program in early January. To qualify for incentives, providers must verify they have demonstrated meaningful use of certified electronic health records (EHRs) for 90 days. When providers are ready to verify that they are meaningful users, CMS will guide them to an attestation module, through which they will perform a combination of tasks describing how they met the requirements, including submitting some clinical quality measures, the article says. CMS has said that providers can begin to submit attestation for meaningful use in April 2011 and that incentive payments will start in May. CMS will verify that providers have registered and enrolled in the Medicare program before they can receive Medicare EHR incentive payments. When providers enroll in the incentive program through PECOS, eligible hospitals and Medicare physicians will receive a national provider identifier, according to CMS. Most providers also need to have an active user account in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES), which is a system that assigns unique identifiers to health plans and providers in exchanging health information.