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AAFP Latest Org. To Request Modified Stage 2 Timeline

August 14, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) is the latest organization to make a public plea to the government to modify the meaningful use Stage 2 timeline, with the group calling the current arrangement “aggressive.”

AAFP joins the College of Healthcare Management Information Excutives (CHIME), American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Hospital Association (AHA) as organizations who have spoken out against the current Stage 2 timeline. In a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, R.N. and Farzad Mostashari, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, AAFP says its members increasingly are concerned about both the regulatory expectations of Stage 2 and the timeframe for physician compliance.

“2014 brings a perfect storm of regulatory compliance issues for family physicians that, we fear, may derail health information technology (IT) adoption and substantially interfere with our shared progress toward achieving better care for patients, better health for communities and lower costs through improvements to the healthcare system," said AAFP Board Chair Glen Stream, M.D.

Chief among the concerns from the AAFP is that its members won’t be able to obtain the products, implementation services training and support for Stage 2 while “continuing to provide the high levels of safety, quality and service that their patients deserve.”

"Though we do not wish to impede the progress of early adopter physicians poised for MU stage two on Jan. 1, 2014, we do not wish to see other family physicians who have committed to health care transformation through the thoughtful application of health IT abandon the MU journey due to factors beyond their control," said Stream.

Unlike CHIME and a few other advocacy groups who are asking for a year extension, AAFP is looking for a significant alteration of the way meaningful use is assessed. It includes three groups of physicians and other eligible professionals, who all be affected by the modified schedule.

  • Group one includes physicians who attest to MU in 2014 as their first payment year and who then would follow a specific timeline for MU reporting to receive a bonus payment;
  • Group two includes physicians attesting to MU in 2014 as their second payment year, and they would follow a separate set of EHR upgrade and reporting period guidelines to receive a 2015 bonus payment;
  • Group three includes physicians attesting to MU in 2014 as their third or fourth payment year. This group also would have to comply with specific EHR upgrade and reporting period guidelines, and qualifying physicians would receive both their 2014 and 2015 MU bonus payments.

"This modified timeline would allow exemplar practices to implement MU stage two requirements early in 2014," said Stream. This is not the AAFP
's first plea when it comes to Meaningful Use, the group asked ONC to delay Stage 3 back in January.

The Stage 2 timeline has become a hotly contested item of debate as of late. Late last month, many CIOs, vendors, and other stakeholders testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee on the difficulties of the current timeline.

Don’t forget to take the Healthcare Informatics poll on this very subject, which can also be found on the sidebar of this site.

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