Several healthcare stakeholder organizations have written a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) urging the department to publish the final rule for the modifications to the meaningful use program from 2015-2017.
In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new proposed rule to align meaningful use Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and measures with the long-term proposals for Stage 3. The proposed rule would streamline reporting requirements and would shorten Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use attestation for eligible professionals and hospitals to a 90-day period in 2015. Comments for that proposed rule were due on June 15.
As such, in June, several industry groups offered praise to the agency for its proposed modifications, especially the move to a 90-day reporting period and simplifying the reporting requirements through 2017. However, in this recent letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and others, they said, “The October 3rd deadline to begin the final possible 90-day reporting period in calendar year 2015 is fast-approaching. If providers do not receive the Final Rule shortly, it will be very difficult to make workflow adjustments in a timely manner to meet programmatic deadlines and facilitate meaningful use tracking and reporting.”
The letter continued, “Fundamentally, it is critical that the 90-day reporting period and streamlining of meaningful use objectives and measures are confirmed, and that the proposals for public health reporting are clarified and enhanced. As these items are finalized, given the compressed timelines, we urge CMS to ensure that the Final Rule offers flexibility to providers and requires only capabilities already in use in 2014 edition-certified EHRs.”
The associations say that while the department’s efforts to simplify and focus meaningful use in the 2015-2017 modifications rule are welcomed by the community—and will be a key contributor to the ongoing success of the electronic health record (EHR) Incentive Program—“providers and technology developers need to have the certainty now that comes with a Final Rule in order to be able to meet the reporting deadlines for 2015 and continue participation in the program.”
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