Trade groups press CMS for meaningful use changes

June 17, 2015 in Medical Technology

Several healthcare industry trade organizations are asking the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services to make changes large and small to its proposed rule for meaningful use.

The American Medical Group Association, a trade group that represents medical practices and health systems, is the most recent to comment, calling for bolstering the healthcare IT infrastructure to ensure it will support the anticipated increased requirements for data transmission in the years ahead.

In its June 15 letter to CMS, making recommendations on the proposed rule to modify MU in 2015 and through 2017, AMGA said its members are concerned about the increases in compliance thresholds proposed for Stage 3.

“AMGA has always supported the goals of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, and our members have eagerly embraced these goals, despite the operational challenges they have presented,” wrote AMGA President and CEO Donald W. Fisher. “This proposed rule reflects that CMS has been sensitive to the struggles that the healthcare industry has had with Meaningful Use by simplifying some of the reporting requirements through 2017, which our members greatly appreciate.”

AMGA members are appreciative that CMS eased the burden of reporting requirements for some of the more operationally challenging measures, he noted, in addition to formally proposing a 90-day reporting period, instead of a one-year reporting period, for 2015 – a measure that AMGA has advocated since last year.

[AMGA defines high-performing health systems.]

Pressed for time

HIMSS, meanwhile, cautioned CMS to make sure the final 2015 requirements take into account the timing of its final rule publication, noting in its June 15 letter the short turnaround time, given the deadline for meeting the requirements is the end of this year.

“HIMSS encourages CMS to recognize that with the publication of these Final Rules likely to occur in mid-to late summer, providers will be hard pressed to meet any new programmatic requirements in such a short timeframe,” the group asserted. “Our overriding concern is continuing to enable providers to utilize health IT in the march toward healthcare transformation, and that is best accomplished by providers remaining as participants in the meaningful use program.” 

Moreover, “there will be very little time for providers and developers to make any adjustments to their technology and their workflow and get a full 90 days of meaningful use reporting started and completed before December 31, 2015,” HIMSS pointed out. “We ask that any changes finalized in this rule take in account the tight timeline between Final Rule publication and required implementation dates.”

Among the points HIMSS highlighted in the letter signed by HIMSS Board Chair Paul Kleeberg, MD, and H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president and CEO, are:

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