Are We Ready For Meaningful Use Implementation?
Meaningful use is defined as meeting thresholds for a number of objectives and CMS has developed three-stage phasing with increasing requirements at each stage.
Providers must attest to demonstrating meaningful use every year to receive an incentive and avoid a Medicare payment adjustment. A recent proposal by CMS sought to require all physicians and hospitals to meet the stage 3 meaningful use requirements beginning in 2018. The final year in which participants in the EHR Incentive Programs can receive bonus payments for meeting meaningful use criteria is 2017; penalties for failing to meet criteria have already begun.
Given that less than half of hospitals and only a small percentage of physicians are currently meeting Stage 2 requirements, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), introduced the The Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act (Flex IT 2 Act) (H.R. 3309) to delay the implementation of Stage 3. The bill seeks to delay Stage 3 until CMS finalizes Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program regulations or at least 75% of doctors and hospitals are successfully meeting Stage 2 meaningful use criteria.
In a statement, Rep. Ellmers said, “Only 19% of providers have met Stage 2 attestations – a clear sign that physicians, hospitals, and health care providers are challenged in meeting CMS’ onerous requirements…I’m uncertain why CMS would continue to push forward with the Stage 3 rule. From my conversations with doctors back home, it is clear they are eager for relief.”
Ellmers’ legislation attempts to achieve five major goals including delaying stage three and the new certification requirements until more eligible providers are successful in the current program, or the final regulations implementing MIPS program are issued by CMS.
More to come as this story unfolds.
By: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C and Wendy Meltzer, MPH
Adapted from the original press releases.
[image by Ellen van Deelan]