Meaningful Use Timeline Shift Does Not Afford Flexibility in 2014

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has confirmed with HHS officials that the proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 extension / Stage 3 delay does not change front-end requirements for Meaningful Use in 2014 and does not afford much needed flexibility to providers working to install and upgrade new technology.

While CHIME believes that the federal agency’s announcement Friday gives vendors and policymakers flexibility to ensure the outcomes sought in Stage 3 are realized, we are disappointed that it does not provide the flexibility for providers requested in previous recommendations. CHIME strongly urges CMS to consider previous recommendations to give eligible hospitals and eligible professionals flexibility in meeting the start date of Stage 2. CHIME reiterates its belief that some providers will need an additional year to install, test, implement and operationalize the new certified EHR software.

In 2014, more than 500,000 hospitals and physicians are required to upgrade or adopt, new technology to meet Meaningful Use requirements. Technology required in 2014 as part of Meaningful Use will enable clinicians across the country to better coordinate care, manage population health and drive efficiencies across care settings – but only if the technology implementation is appropriately timed and the change-process effectively managed.

“There is a perfect storm brewing,” said Russ Branzell, CHIME’s CEO. “With ICD-10 compliance coming into view, with HIPAA compliance demanding renewed attention and with all the activities associated with the Affordable Care Act converging in 2014, providers are nearing a breaking point. Flexibility of the kind announced today is beneficial for Stage 3, but Stage 2 start-date flexibility is needed to ensure long-term success.”

CHIME announced its policy recommendations to extend allowable reporting periods for Meaningful Use last May. Since then, a group of US Senators communicated their concerns to HHS, as well as a host of other providers including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Health Information Management System Society, American College of Physicians, National Rural Health Association, Medical Group Management Association, and Academy of American Family Physicians have sought more time to meet Meaningful Use in 2014.

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