In the thick of "National Health IT Week," Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) won a lot of friends in the health IT industry with a proposed bill that would allow providers to attest to Stage 2 of meaningful use using any 90-day reporting period in fiscal year 2015.
Currently, providers attesting to Stage 2 of meaningful use in 2015 are required to report for a full-year. Because the fiscal year starts in October, this means that providers and their certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) vendors have to be ready in a few weeks for attestation.
Many industry associations, including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), have come out strongly against this timeline. Recently, these associations wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell asking for flexibility.
Ellmers' bill, appropriately called "The Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act of 2014," would grant providers the option of attesting in 2015 through a 90-day reporting period. She says that without this flexibility, many of the Stage 2 eligible providers and hospitals will not be able to participate in the program.
“The Meaningful Use Program has many important provisions that seek to usher our health care providers into the digital age," Ellmers said in a statement. "But instead of working with doctors and hospitals, HHS is imposing rigid mandates that will cause unbearable financial burdens on the men and women who provide care to millions of Americans. Dealing with these inflexible mandates is causing doctors, nurses, and their staff to focus more on avoiding financial penalties and less on their patients.”