AMDIS To Push CMS for More Details on Meaningful Use Changes

June 20, 2014 in News

The Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems is seeking clarity around CMS’ proposed changes to the meaningful use program, Modern Healthcare reports.

AMDIS has tasked board member Michael Zaroukian with drafting formal comments to CMS’ proposed rule (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 6/19).

Background

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

In March, CMS updated language in its fiscal year 2015 hardship exception applications for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program to allow eligible professionals and hospitals to apply for hardship exceptions in cases of “2014 EHR vendor issues.”

In addition to vendor issues, eligible professionals and hospitals can apply for hardship exemptions because of:

  • Lack of infrastructure;
  • Unforeseen/uncontrollable circumstances;
  • Lack of control over the availability of certified EHR technology; and
  • Lack of face-to-face interactions (iHealthBeat, 3/11).

Meanwhile, CMS in May released a proposed rule that would change:

  • The meaningful use timeline;
  • The definition of certified EHR technology; and
  • Requirements for the reporting of clinical quality measures for 2014 (iHealthBeat, 5/21).

Details of AMDIS’ Questions

AMDIS plans to ask for more details regarding the waivers for health care providers who are unable to fully implement an EHR system because of vendor delays, according to Zaroukian.

Zaroukian said, “Many of us wonder what do we need to do to demonstrate we were unable to fully implement” a 2014 Edition certified EHR system.

He said, “There is one thing to say [the vendor] didn’t have it (tested and certified) in time,” but he questioned whether providers whose vendor had a system tested and certified but “couldn’t implement it because we were on a waiting list, or we couldn’t implement it and get the interfaces installed, or even if we could get it implemented, we couldn’t do the workflow” changes would qualify for a waiver.

AMDIS’ comments also will address the broader meaningful use timeline.

Under the proposed rule, health care providers who started in the EHR incentive payment program at Stage 1 in 2012 still would need to advance to Stage 2 of the program in 2015.

Zaroukian said, “It will be interesting to see how many people can do that in two years,” adding, “Is two years in any one stage enough? We actually haven’t proven that” (Modern Healthcare, 6/19).

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