Skip to content Skip to navigation

GOP Senators Urge Meaningful Use Stage 2 Extension

September 24, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

In a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, several ranking Republican Senators called for a one-year extension for healthcare providers to complete the second stage of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive program, much to the delight of at least one industry association.

“We are concerned that the regulatory structure of the program has created significant time pressure in 2014, and progressing to Stage 2 may not be feasible for all participants,” the Senators write in the letter. They mention the time pressures that both providers and vendors are facing with the upgrades to technology in order to attest to Stage 2. They say, “This time pressure has raised questions about whether such a short period for Stage 2 is in the best long-term interest of the program.”

In addition, the Senators say they are concerned the onset of Stage 2 will “further the digital divide” between small, rural providers and larger healthcare organizations. They also believe an aggressive Stage 2 timeline could stifle innovation, and increase medical errors.

“If the goal is to improve care by achieving broad and meaningful utilization of EHRs, providing sufficient time to ensure a safe, orderly transition through Stage 2 is critical to having stakeholder buy-in, a necessary component of long-term success,” they write.

A barrage of 17 Republican senators sent the letter including Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Also included were Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The letter was met with overwhelming praise by at least one organization advocating for an extended Stage 2 timeline. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), in a statement, praised the senators for their letter, saying an extension would give providers sufficient time to meet new program requirements, while maintaining software development and deployment deadlines.

 “These 17 Senators have evaluated program data, heard from constituents and acted in a responsible manner by issuing their request to HHS Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius,” Russ Branzell, CEO of CHIME, said in a statement. “The tenor of Senate’s letter echoes that of CHIME and others who desperately want this program to succeed, but also know that some changes are needed.”

Other associations have called on HHS to delay or extend the Stage 2 timeline including the American Hospital Association (AHA), Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP).



BCBS Puerto Rico Affiliate Hit with $3.5M HIPAA Fine

December 1, 2015
Triple-S Management Corporation, a Puerto Rico-based insurance holding company affiliated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has agreed to complete a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance corrective action program and pay a $3.5 million fine for HIPAA violations dating back to 2010.

Study: One in Three Family Physicians Already Pursuing Value-Based Payments

December 1, 2015
A study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) found that 33 percent of family physicians are already pursuing value-based payment opportunities, although lack of time was identified as a top barrier to implementing value-based care delivery.

CPSI Acquires EHR Provider Healthland for $250M

December 1, 2015
In a deal that will impact rural and community hospitals, Mobile, Ala.-based Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (CPSI) announced last week that it would acquire Healthland Holding Inc. and its affiliates for $250 million.

Cornell University Scientists Develop Stroke-Detecting Device

December 1, 2015
Scientists at Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health have developed a device that helps diagnose stroke in less than ten minutes, according a study published in the journal Plus ONE.

Hospitals Lack Proper Web Security Programs, HIMSS Analytics Reports

November 30, 2015
While healthcare leaders understand the risks to data security, many still do not understand the best way to address security challenges, leaving hospitals and health centers vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, according to a survey by HIMSS Analytics.

Survey: So Far, Most Orgs Satisfied with ICD-10 Transition

November 30, 2015
About eight in 10 healthcare organizations have said that the ICD-10 transition—now two months in—has gone smoothly, according to a KPMG LLP survey.

Attendance Appears to Slide at RSNA 2015

November 30, 2015
If the final attendance numbers of RSNA15 remain close to the advance registration figures posted Monday by RSNA officials, attendance this year will have dipped 16 percent

Survey: Digital Tomosynthesis and Cloud-Based Image Sharing Are on Radiology Providers’ Radars

November 30, 2015
There continues to be rapid advancements in medical imaging technology and many radiology providers see breast tomosynthesis as one of the most exciting new and emerging imaging technologies, according to a peer60 report.

ONC Report: Personal Health Records Should be Integrated into HIEs

November 30, 2015
A report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recommends that patients’ personal health records (PHRs) be implemented in health information exchanges (HIEs).

Lahey Hospital and Medical Center Fined $850K for Potential HIPAA Security Violations

November 25, 2015
Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Hospital and Medical Center this week agreed to pay $850,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules stemming from a 2011 security breach.

Genomic Medicine Clinic in Alabama Opens its Doors

November 25, 2015
Last week, a genomic medicine clinic opened in Huntsville, Ala. with the aim of utilizing the power of the genomic sequence to identify the causes of illness in children and adults with undiagnosed disease.

DoD, VA Say Interoperability Requirements Have Been Met

November 24, 2015
The Department of Defense (DoD) says that it has met the interoperability requirements for electronic health records (EHRs) as called for in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014.

Senate Committee Advances Rural Health Care Connectivity Act

November 24, 2015
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week passed a bipartisan bill that would enable rural nursing facilities to tap into funding from the government’s Universal Service Fund for telecommunications and broadband services.

Black Book Research: IT Outsourcing Poised for Growth in Healthcare Payer Sector

November 23, 2015
A new Black Book Research report estimates the demands of data security, population health and value-based benefits solutions—and revenue cycle modernization—will drive the payer IT outsourcing market in excess of $60 billion by the end of 2017.

EHRA, HIMSS Comment on CMS Value-Based Payment Models

November 23, 2015
The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) and the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) last week weighed in on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and voiced concerns about new data reporting requirements and new certification criteria for alternative payment models.