MU Stage 2 offers 2014 flexibility

September 1, 2014 in Medical Technology

The Department of Health and Human Services published a final rule for Stage 2 meaningful use August 29 that offers hospitals and physicians flexibility for 2014.

The new rule allows eligible providers to use the 2011 Edition of certified EHR technology or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition for the 2014 Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs,

Come 2015, all eligible providers will be required to use the 2014 Edition if certified EHR technology.

By bending the rule a little, more providers would be able to participate and meet important meaningful use objectives such as drug interaction and drug allergy checks, providing clinical summaries to patients, electronic prescribing, reporting on key public health data and reporting on quality measures, HHS officials noted in a news release.

“We listened to stakeholder feedback,” Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a news release. “We were excited to see that there is overwhelming support for this change.”

Indeed, CMS heard from individual stakeholders and also from several healthcare provider organizations, such as HIMSS, CHIME and MGMA.

In an interview last July, former National Health Information Technology Coordinator David Blumenthal, MD, widely regarded as the architect of the meaningful use program, was optimistic about progress.

“Well, I take a long view,” Blumenthal told Healthcare IT News. “My belief is that the United States healthcare system was flawed in ways that prevented, or dis-incented the adoption of electronic health records, and that to accelerate that process required government intervention.”

“The intervention was not perfect, Blumenthal acknowledged, “but it accomplished the basic goal of accelerating the adoption and use of electronic health records. It means that most Americans’ health information is in digital form.”

[See also: Stage 2: Rubber meets the road.]

CHIME CEO Russell Branzell told Healthcare IT News earlier this year that CHIME surveyed CIOs from organizations that were early adopters of health IT. Of the 33 who said they would attest to achieving Stage 2 in January 2014, none did. Close to half of these said they would be delayed significantly, perhaps six months or more.

“It takes a while to get the software in,” Branzell explained. “It takes a while to mature it. It takes a while to get the data flowing.”

[See also: Stage 2 meaningful use off to slow start.]

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