Top Health Industry Stakeholders react to HHS’s latest changes to MU Stage 2

There is industry wide concern in the ability of healthcare organizations to continue participating in the MU program. The latest changes to Stage 2, published on Sep 4 2014 Federal Register mandates the EHR reporting period in 2015 to be for 365 days.

A long list of top industry stakeholders including CHIME, HIMSS, MGMA, AHA, AMA and others have jointly sent a pointed letter on Sep 15 2014 to HHS Secretary, Sylvia M. Burwell expressing their concerns. They state that while they are “proud to be active partners in such a vital public program” they “request HHS provide for a shortened, 90-day EHR reporting period in 2015, which would give time for providers to continue their transition without having to drop out of the program.”.

In Feb 2014, the same group of stakeholders had communicated to HHS their concerns that the “pace and scope of change in the mandate had inhibited the ability of our members to manage the transition to 2014 Edition Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT) and Stage 2 Meaningful Use in a safe and orderly manner”.

They further state that “for roughly 3,800 hospitals, the final rule requires implementation of 2014 Edition CEHRT configured for Stage 2 measures and objectives by October 1, 2014. More than 237,000 eligible professionals (EPs) will need to be similarly positioned by January 1, 2015. This is in addition to the 1,200 hospitals and 290,000 EPs who also must have 2014 Edition CEHRT implemented before the beginning of their reporting year at Stage 1”.
As per the letter, only 143 hospitals and 3,152 EPs have demonstrated an ability to meet Stage 2 requirements using 2014 Edition CEHRT. This represents less than 4 percent of the hospitals required to be Stage 2-ready within the next 15 days. Eligible professionals are in comparatively worse shape, with only 1.3 percent of their cohort having met the Stage 2 bar thus far.

They urge the secretary Sylvia Burwell to “take immediate action by shortening the 2015 EHR reporting period to 90 days and by adding flexibility in how providers meet the Stage 2 requirements, particularly related to Transitions of Care and View, Download, Transmit measures.”

They believe that these changes will have a dramatically positive effect on program participation and policy outcomes sought in 2015 and beyond. The additional time and flexibility afforded by these modifications will help hundreds of thousands of providers meet Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner. This will reinforce investments made to date and it will ensure continued momentum towards the goals of Stage 3, including enhanced care coordination and interoperability.

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