In a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), and 15 other healthcare organizations issued an immediate call to action to on Sep. 16 to “adjust the 2015 EHR reporting period to help hundreds of thousands of providers meet meaningful use Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner,” according to a press release issued Tuesday morning.
Responding to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services' (CMS) final rule on meaningful use flexibility, the letter states the agency's decision to require a full-year of reporting using 2014 Edition certified EHR technology (CEHRT) in 2015 puts many eligible hospitals and physicians at risk of not meeting Meaningful Use next year and hinders the forward trajectory of the program.
"We implore you to take immediate action by shortening the 2015 EHR reporting period to 90 days and by adding flexibility in how providers meet the Stage 2 requirements," the letter states. "The additional time and flexibility afforded by these modifications will help hundreds of thousands of providers meet Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner. This will reinforce investments made to date and it will ensure continued momentum towards the goals of Stage 3, including enhanced care coordination and interoperability."
While the final rule does provide flexibility in meeting MU requirements for 2014, most hospitals who take advantage of the new pathways will not be in a position to meet Stage 2 requirements beginning October 1, 2014 (FY 2015), CHIME, AMDIS, and the other associations assert.
"With just two weeks to go before the start of Fiscal Year 2015, immediate attention to this requirement is essential," said CHIME president and CEO Russell P. Branzell, said in a statement contained in the press release. "There are thousands of hospitals right now desperately trying to determine how to appropriately install and configure software for Stage 2, and how to start collecting data by the end of this month."
The release of the final rule on Aug. 29 has caused considerable consternation among some in healthcare, and has already led to considerable criticism among some healthcare association leaders and industry leaders. Healthcare Informatics will continue to update readers as additional developments occur in this area.