With one month left in the 2014 reporting period, 77 percent of hospitals eligible to attest to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program have already done so, according to figures presented at the Jan. 13, 2015, HIT Policy Committee meeting.
Concerns about low attestation rates earlier in 2014 may have been mitigated by two factors, explained Elisabeth Myers from the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid. First, most eligible hospitals and professionals tend to attest after their fiscal reporting year closes, and that held true this year: Most hospitals attested after their fiscal year 2014 closed, and eligible professionals have until February 2015 to attest. Second is the fact not all hospitals and providers are eligible for Stage 2 in 2014. To be eligible, they had to complete two years of Stage 1 attestation. Only 56 percent of hospitals and 42 percent of providers were eligible for Stage 2. That 77 percent figure represents 1,814 hospitals attesting to Stage 2 so far out of 2,115 that were eligible.
Of the 13 percent of providers who have so far attested for 2014, almost 60 percent have attested to Stage 2, Myers said.
Among Stage 2-eligible hospitals that attested to stage 1, 65 percent attested using 2014 certified EHR technology; 13 percent used a combination of 2011 and 2014 certified EHR technology; 23 percent used 2011 certified EHR technology.
Summarizing the data, Paul Tang, M.D., committee co-chair, said the phenomenon of hospitals waiting until the end of the fiscal year is holding true and on track with previous years.
“The biggest ‘ah-hah’ for me involves understanding the denominator,” he added. “Actually only about half of hospitals are eligible for Stage 2, so it is encouraging that almost 80 percent of those that are eligible did attest, and the eligible providers still have three more months to attest,” said Tang, who is chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in California.
Committee member Mark Probst, CIO of Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, asked if CMS had any projections about how many providers and hospitals would start incurring penalties next year. Myers said early numbers indicate that approximately 200 hospitals and 240,000 providers would receive payment adjustments for not meeting meaningful use criteria or not participating in the program. She said she would qualify those figures by saying that the number of providers that would see an adjustment of more than $5,000 is very small. Some providers may have chosen not to participate because they have very low Medicare claims volume, she noted.