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Is Meaningful Use Ending As We Know It?

January 19, 2016
by Leslie Kriegstein, Interim Vice President of Public Policy, CHIME
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CMS Acting Administrator Hints at Forthcoming Changes to the Meaningful Use Program

Key Takeaway: During a speech at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt suggested that significant changes are in store for the Meaningful Use program.

Why It Matters: The statement made by Acting Administrator Slavitt last week caught much of the industry by surprise. Just a few months after the release of the Meaningful Use Stage 3 Final Rule with comment, the Acting Administrator alluded to potential changes to the Meaningful Use Program that would fundamentally alter the EHR Incentive Program as we know it today.

CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell issued a statement in response to the remarks, highlighting CHIME’s ongoing efforts to support a reorientation of the Meaningful Use Program to focus on interoperability, clear and enforceable standards and improved alignment of clinical quality measures.

The comments had a pronounced emphasis on program changes for physicians relative to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. However, CHIME will continue to advocate for refinements to the program to ensure that hospitals and physicians — can meet program requirements.

CMS Announces 209,000 EPs Subject to Meaningful Use Penalties in 2016

Key Takeaway: Last week CMS announced that nearly two-in-five physicians will receive a payment adjustment in 2016 for their Meaningful Use Program participation in program year 2014.

Why It Matters: While the penalties declined by nearly 50,000 as compared to 2015, the high payment adjustment figures remain a concern for policy makers and industry stakeholders alike. Without the additional program flexibility that CMS granted the provider community in the final quarter of the 2014 program year, these penalty numbers could have been even higher.

According to CMS, for the vast majority of Eligible Professionals (EPs), the total dollar amount of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program downward payment adjustment is expected to be less than $1,000.  

  • 13,900 will receive a payment adjustment of less than $100
  • 103,000 will receive a payment adjustment of $100- $1,000
  • 30,400 will receive a payment adjustment of $1,000 - $5,000