EHR Group Urges CMS, ONC To Release Final Meaningful Use Rule

July 16, 2014 in News

On Friday, the HIMSS EHR Association in a letter urged the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and CMS to quickly issue a final rule regarding 2014 meaningful use reporting requirements and to delay the start of Stage 3 until at least 2018, Healthcare IT News reports (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 7/11).

Background

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.

In May, CMS and ONC released a proposal 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, 7/9).

Letter Details

In the letter, the association, which consists of nearly 40 EHR companies, wrote that the rule should be quickly finalized to eliminate “wasted time and effort regarding 2014 work.”

The association noted that many health care providers “will make decisions based on the proposed rule” and urged the agencies take those “already-made decisions” into account as they finalize the rule to avoid changes “that would prove problematic for those who acted in good faith based on the proposed rule.” 

Delay Stage 3

The HIMSS EHR Association also called on ONC and CMS to delay the start of Stage 3 until “no earlier than 2018″ given that the “proposal for the Stage 3 timeline presents many of the same challenges as were encountered in Stage 2.”

For example, the association noted that EHR vendors need at least 18 months after the rule and all related measures and requirements are finalized to make the necessary changes and distribute updated products to their customers (Healthcare IT News, 7/11).

The association wrote that the agencies should make any timeline changes public “as soon as possible so that the information can be used for advanced planning” (EHRA letter, 7/10).

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