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Meaningful Use Flexibility Changes Not Enough, Says Provider Group

July 23, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) says that the Stage 2 meaningful use flexibility proposed by the government isn’t enough to prevent more providers from dropping out of the program.

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), MGMA says that CMS and ONC should consider extending reporting flexibility, including 3-month quarterly and continuous 90-day EHR reporting period, available in calendar year 2015. If it doesn’t make dramatic changes to Stage 2, it predicts a massive drop-off from the 300,000 eligible professionals (EPs) that attested to Stage 1.

In May, CMS and ONC proposed a rule that states that providers can use the 2011 Edition of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In 2015, the rule proposes that hospitals and professionals would be required to report using 2014 Edition CEHRT.

MGMA says that the 2011 Edition of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) should be available for 2015 reporting as well. MGMA is also looking for a revised definition to “fully implement to include more attestation scenarios and asking for an extension for the hardship exception deadline. They’re also asking for CMS and ONC to get rid of the requirement that asks providers to get five percent of their patients to view, download, and transmit their own health data.  

Comments on the proposed rule by the public are due this week. IT advocacy groups like the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the EHR Association have largely backed the proposed rule, although asked for speed and clarity in certain situations, while provider groups like MGMA and the American Medical Association (AMA) are not as supportive. In a letter, AMA said that the flexibility only affects early attesters of meaningful use, doesn’t align quality measures between meaningful use and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and is offered too late to offer significant relief.

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