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).

Topics

News

Truven Health Analytics Identifies 15 Top Health Systems Based on Clinical, Administrative Performance

April 28, 2016
A study by Truven Health Analytics found that the top-performing multi-hospital health systems in the U.S. achieved higher survival rates and fewer errors at a lower overall treatment cost.

Report: Privilege Misuse and End User Errors Leading Threats to Healthcare Security

April 28, 2016
End users are often the weakest link in an organization’s cyber defense as cyber criminals exploit human nature to execute attack patterns such as phishing, according to Verizon Enterprise’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Survey: Execs Optimistic on Future of Health IT

April 27, 2016
Healthcare executives support electronic health records (EHRs) and a move to even wider communication amongst technology systems in the future, according to a new survey from financial services firm CIT Group and Harris Poll.

House Introduces HHS Data Protection Act of 2016

April 27, 2016
Two House Energy and Commerce Committee members have introduced a bill that would reform the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate the HHS Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) as the primary authority on all matters of information security at the agency.

Practice Fusion Joins Federal Interoperability Pledge

April 26, 2016
Practice Fusion, the cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) vendor from San Francisco, has become the latest technology company to sign the interoperability pledge introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Hospital Safety Scores Report Indicates Avoidable Deaths Remain High

April 26, 2016
There is a 50 percent higher risk of avoidable death at a hospital that received a Hospital Safety Score of D or F compared to hospitals that have received A grades, according to the Leapfrog Group's newly updated hospital safety scores.

AHA Brief: Coverage for Telehealth Services Not Keeping Pace with Care Delivery Innovations

April 26, 2016
There is a growing body of evidence that telehealth can not only expand access to services but also create cost savings, yet limited coverage impedes the expansion of telehealth services, the American Hospital Association wrote in a recent brief on telemedicine.

Geisinger’s MyCode Genomic Study Hits Milestone of 100K Participants

April 26, 2016
Geisinger Health System, based in Danville, Pa., announced this week that it has signed up 100,000 recruits for its major biobank and DNA sequencing study known as the MyCode Community Health Initiative.

Survey: Docs Frustrated with Manual Prior Authorization Processes

April 26, 2016
A survey of more than 300 physicians, clinical and administrative staff, and electronic health record (EHR) vendors conducted by Surescripts, the Arlington, Va.-based operator of a national clinical electronic network, revealed that providers are growing frustrated with manual processes around prior authorization.

UMMC Plans to Open School of Population Health in 2017

April 25, 2016
The University of Mississippi Medical Center has announced plans to open a new School of Population Health focused on preventive medicine, data science and population health science. The new school is slated to open in 2017.

Maine Governor Signs Mandatory E-Prescribing Bill into Law

April 25, 2016
Just one month after a law in New York state went into effect mandating the electronic prescribing of all controlled and non-scheduled drugs, Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage signed into a law a bill that requires the electronic prescribing of controlled substances for opioids in his state.

Orthopedic Clinic Pays $750K HIPAA Settlement For Disclosing PHI Without a Business Associate Agreement

April 22, 2016
Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic of North Carolina agreed this week to pay $750,000 to settle charges that it allegedly violated privacy rules by providing patients’ protected health information (PHI) to a business partner without first executing a business associate agreement.

U.S. Coast Guard Terminated Contract with Epic for EHR Implementation

April 22, 2016
The U.S. Coast Guard terminated its contract with Epic to implement an electronic health record (EHR) system, which expanded into an Integrated Health Information System (IHiS), citing concerns about cost and technical complexity, a USCG representative confirmed.

New York Presbyterian Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million for Disclosure of Patients’ PHI

April 22, 2016
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) this week announced it had reached a $2.2 million settlement with New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) related to the unauthorized filming of two patients for an episode of “NY Med.”

Intermountain, Stanford Partner on Clinical Genomics Initiative

April 22, 2016
Intermountain Healthcare and the Stanford Genome Technology Center (SGTC) have established a new collaborative research program with the aim of producing scientific advances in precision health and medicine.

Pages