CMS Data Show Meaningful Use Attestation Grows Slightly in June

July 9, 2014 in News

The number of eligible health care professionals and hospitals that have attested to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program rose slightly in June, according to the latest CMS data, Health Data Management reports (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 7/9).

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

Background

The new data follows a proposal released in May by CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to give providers an additional year to upgrade EHR systems to meet reporting requirements for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program.

The agencies noted that the proposed timeline change came in response to stakeholder feedback about needing more flexibility. The proposed rule acknowledges that many software vendors have had difficulty upgrading their EHR products, receiving certification and upgrading customers’ systems in time to attest to the meaningful use program.

The proposed rule would change:

  • The meaningful use timeline;
  • The definition of certified EHR technology; and
  • Requirements for the reporting of clinical quality measures for 2014 (iHealthBeat, 6/11).

Attestation Figures

On Tuesday, Elisabeth Myers of CMS’ Office of eHealth Standards and Services told Health IT Policy Committee members that as of July 1:

  • 2,823 eligible professionals, or 3% of all eligible professionals, have attested to meaningful use for the 2014 reporting year; and
  • 128 eligible hospitals, or 1% of all eligible hospitals, have attested for the 2014 reporting year (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 7/8).

Of those, the data show that:

  • 10 eligible hospitals have attested to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, up from eight last month; and
  • 972 eligible professionals have attested to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program (Health Data Management, 7/9).

The number of attesting eligible hospitals included those that attested by the first or second quarter of 2014 (CMS PowerPoint, 7/8). Meanwhile, the figure for attesting eligible professionals includes those who had installed a 2014-certified EHR by January 1, completed the reporting period closing April 1 and attested by July 1.

During her presentation, Myers cautioned the committee that the data are early, noting that 2014 is the first year CMS has imposed reporting periods based on calendar quarters. CMS previously conducted reporting periods based on a 90-day timeframe.

Myers said, “We’ve never actually had a reporting period structured in this way,” adding, “Is this the normal rate? We just don’t know.”

She added that data for second quarter attestations are expected to begin coming this month (Sullivan, Healthcare IT News, 7/9).

Attestation by Vendor

In an accompanying presentation, Jennifer King — chief of research and evaluation in ONC’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Analysis — told Policy Committee members that in 2014:

  • Eight EHR vendors have been used by eligible professionals who have attested to Stage 2; and
  • Five EHR vendors have been used by eligible hospitals that have attested to Stage 2 (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 7/8).

Among eligible professionals who attested to Stage 2:

  • 61% used athenahealth; and
  • 20% used Epic.

Among eligible hospitals that attested to Stage 2:

  • 33% used Cerner;
  • 22% used CPSI; and
  • 22% used MEDITECH (FierceEMR, 7/8).
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