On Wednesday, March 6, in an appearance at the HIMSS Conference in New Orleans, Marilyn Tavenner, R.N. , acting administrator of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed during a presentation at the conference that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)/Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) would delay the release of a preliminary rule for Stage 3 of meaningful use under the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act until after the end of calendar year 2013, in order, in her words, for CMS and ONC officials to be able to “digest” input and feedback from healthcare leaders on lessons being learned in Stage 2 of MU. Tavenner’s statement was further confirmed in a press conference held immediately afterwards by Farzad Mostashari, M.D., the national coordinator for health IT.
On the one hand, the potential for ONC and CMS officials to be able to fully incorporate industry feedback into their planning for Stage 3 should logically be maximized by this shift in policy and strategy. On the other hand, the move might also make it more difficult for providers to fulfill the requirements of Stage 3 in a timely way.
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--The Editors of Healthcare Informatics