Stakeholders Encouraged by CMS’ Plan for Meaningful Use Flexibility

February 4, 2015 in News

CMS’ announcement that it plans to issue a rule that would update the meaningful use program to give eligible providers and hospitals more flexibility in meeting program requirements has been met mostly with praise, Becker’s Health IT CIO Review reports.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Jayanthi, Becker’s Health IT CIO Review, 2/2).

Background on Proposal

Last week, CMS in a blog post said it is considering proposals that would:

  • Alter parts of the program to reduce complexity and providers’ reporting burdens, as well as to match long-term goals;
  • Give eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition certified EHR software into their workflows by realigning EHR reporting periods to the calendar year; and
  • Shorten the 2015 EHR reporting period from 365 days to 90 days.

The rule is expected to be released in the spring, and it would be separate from the Stage 3 proposed rule that is set to come out in March (iHealthBeat, 1/29).


Donald Fisher, president and CEO of American Medical Group Association, in a release said his organization is “very pleased with CMS’ announcement,” adding, “These changes will be enormously helpful to our members who have pioneered the use of EHRs” (Becker’s Health IT CIO Review, 2/2).

Similarly, Mayo Clinic CIO Cris Ross noted that the adjustments would “allow provider and hospital organizations to accurately depict their compliance with meaningful use with less administrative overhead.”

Meanwhile, Sue Schade — CIO at University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers — said the proposal “reflects that the voices of CIOs and others in the industry are being heard in terms of some of the adjustments that are needed to the timing and the regulations at this point.”

Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs at the Medical Group Management Association, said his organization is “encouraged” by the announcement and urged CMS “to expedite the release of its 90-day reporting provision to give physician practices the confidence they need to continue participating in this program” (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 1/30).

Meanwhile, Steven Stack — president-elect of the American Medical Association — in a statement said that while his organization is “eager” for the new rule, it is important that it “be issued expediently,” as “today’s EHR certification standards and the stringent requirements of the Meaningful Use program do not support that goal and decrease efficiency” (Bowman, FierceEMR, 1/30).

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