Healthcare Groups to Congress: Don’t Support Stage 3 Delay Without Interoperability Reform | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Healthcare Groups to Congress: Don’t Support Stage 3 Delay Without Interoperability Reform

December 8, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Various healthcare stakeholders—including the Health IT Now Coalition and certain health IT vendors—have written a letter to members of Congress urging them to oppose any delays to meaningful use Stage 3 that do not include changes to interoperability standards.

 The Dec. 7 letter comes at an interesting time—eight days before stakeholder comments for the Stage 3 final rule are due, and about a month after more than 100 medical associations sent letters to members of the Senate and the House urging lawmakers to intervene with Stage 3 of the meaningful use program.

This most recent letter reads, “Delay without reform would rob taxpayers and patients of cost savings while doing absolutely nothing to make the program work well for overburdened doctors and hospitals.” The letter was penned by technology companies such as Intel, Apervita, Oracle, and athenahealth, the Health IT Now Coalition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and others.

On Oct. 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released both the Stage 3 final rule and the Stage 2 modifications final rule together in a 752-page document. Most health IT leaders responded to the rule with cautious optimism, and many further believed that the required start date of 2018 for Stage 3 is too soon. Specifically regarding the Stage 3 final rule, CMS announced a 60-day public comment period to facilitate additional stakeholder feedback, which is set to end next week.

The letter states that to date, the meaningful use program has failed to achieve interoperability goals that aim to break down longstanding silos in our healthcare coverage and delivery system that needlessly drive up costs and recklessly put patient safety at risk. “What is clear to us is that current requirements and pace of the meaningful use program have taken away time and valuable resources from fixing our nation’s interoperability problem. What is less clear is how the new requirements included under meaningful use Stage 3 will help solve the interoperability problem,” the letter reads.

In that sense, the subscribing organizations say they agree with what the American Medical Association (AMA) and 110 other medical associations said in their letter to Congress regarding meaningful use and interoperability—specifically that “the program has failed to focus on interoperability and has instead created new barriers to easily exchanging data and information across care settings.”

The organizations go on to say that the Administration will need legislative support to effectively facilitate interoperability.  “We support Congress changing the law to address the known defects associated with interoperability,” they say. Specifically, they support the following concepts:

  • Establishing a common definition of interoperability
  • Ending information blocking
  • Supporting adoption of industry-developed standards
  • Basing full electronic health record (EHR) certification on performance in interoperability and usability
  • Testing of EHR products via NIST
  • Easy access of EHR marketplaces
  • Establishing an online tool for reporting problems
  • Applying civil monetary penalties and decertification for bad actors, including those who engage in information blocking
  • Implementing a penalty structure EHR vendors that have committed bad actions
  • Transferring grant authority from ONC to an alternative agency

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Analysis: Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Decline in First Half of 2018

In the first half of 2018, ransomware events in major healthcare data breaches diminished substantially compared to the same time period last year, as cyber attackers move on to more profitable activities, such as cryptojacking, according to a new report form cybersecurity firm Cryptonite.

Dignity Health, UCSF Health Partner to Improve the Digital Patient Experience

Dignity Health and UCSF Health are collaborating to develop a digital engagement platform that officials believe will provide information and access to patients when and where they need it as they navigate primary and preventive care, as well as more acute or specialty care.

Report: Digital Health VC Funding Surges to Record $4.9 Billion in 2018

Global venture capital funding for digital health companies in the first half of 2018 was 22 percent higher year-over-year (YoY) with a record $4.9 billion raised in 383 deals compared to the $4 billion in 359 deals in the same time period last year, according to Mercom Capital Group’s latest report.

ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.