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CHIME: Healthcare Organizations Need More Time for Stage 2

April 30, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has submitted its comments on the proposed rules for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, saying healthcare organizations need more time to better prepare for the federal regulations. Among their recommendations, CHIME asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs), and critical access hospitals (CAHs) to demonstrate Meaningful Use during a continuous 90-day EHR reporting period for their first payment year in Stage 2, which is what was used in Stage 1.

“To allow adequate time for application development, provider adoption and testing, CMS should follow the precedent set in Stage 1,” CHIME said. “And similar to Stage 1, the EHR reporting period would be any continuous 90-day period within the first payment year of Stage 2 and a 365-day reporting period for all subsequent payment years within Stage 2.”

Pam McNutt, senior vice president and chief information officer at Dallas-based Methodist Health System and a member of CHIME’s Policy Steering Committee, said the organization felt the approach in Stage 1 gave providers much-needed time to make sure the correct fields were populating and accurate Meaningful Use reports were being produced.

CHIME said was concerned with the lack and types of menu options for EPs, EHs and CAHs. The group said the menu set for both EPs and hospitals is quite small in relation to the minimum number that would need to be met, thereby providing relatively few options for EPs and hospitals. It said a number of the proposed menu set objectives and measures also would have non-trivial cost implications for EPs and hospitals.

Other comments filed with both CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) identified concerns related to the proposed Stage 2 EHR reporting period as well as CMS’ varying approach to clinical quality measures (CQMs).

“The accurate reporting of quality measures is one of the most daunting challenges faced by providers today,” CHIME said. “Through our experiences with Stage 1, we found that although EHR products were able to automatically produce CQM reports, the data was inaccurate and largely incomparable across different providers.”

CHIME asked ONC to require certification of EHR products to all CQMs needed to meet Meaningful Use in each setting. The organization said certification should include all CQMs for associated settings.  Overall, their comments include suggestions on all 42 objectives and measures for both ambulatory and inpatient settings of care.

CHIME’s comments to CMS can be found here.

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