The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has spoken out against the recent call by four House Republican leaders to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “immediately suspend the distribution of incentive payments until [the Department] promulgates universal interoperable standards.” HIMSS says too much progress has been made to the adoption of EHRs and the exchange of health information to suspend the incentive program.
The letter, addressed to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked her to suspend the payments related to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) Meaningful Use Incentive program because the Stage 2 rules are too weak and “inadequate.”
According to HIMSS, even though there is still much work to be done, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (ARRA/HITECH) has allowed for 2,700 Eligible Hospitals and 73,000 Eligible Professionals to attest to Stage 1 of meaningful use to date. “These are clear indicators that government incentives are working,” HIMSS said in a statement.
“HIMSS supports the concept of graduated complexity of meaningful use; this stepped approach recognizes evolutionary maturity of adoption and implementation of health IT – all of which serves as the foundation for healthcare transformation. Significant progress has been made; widespread interoperability is within reach,” the group said.