MU Stage 3 Under Review; Proposed Legislation Shortens Reporting Period
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has sent its proposed rule for stage 3 of the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, the way station before publication in the Federal Register.
In its submission to OMB, CMS noted that, among other recommendations, “Stage 3 will also propose changes to the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use. These changes will provide a flexible, yet, clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements,” Health Data Management reported.
Last year, in a meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) Committee, the Meaningful Use Workgroup offered lengthy recommendations and enhancements to the program, such as reducing 26 objectives from an earlier version down to 19. Demonstrations for stage 3 will not start until 2017.
In related news, a bill with bipartisan support has been reintroduced in the new session of Congress that would shorten the 2015 reporting period from one year to three months. H.R. 207, aka the Flex-IT Act of 2015, was introduced by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC 2nd). Current meaningful use rules stipulate that eligible providers report meaningful use data to CMS for the year-long reporting period in 2015. The legislation currently has support from healthcare groups including the American Hospital Association and the College of Information Management Executives.
“There is a tremendous need for our healthcare providers to have flexibility in meeting HHS’ stiff deadlines, and this is precisely why I am reintroducing the Flex-IT Act,” said Ellmers in a written statement.
However, while Ellmers cites “dreadful” attestation rates for stage 2 of meaningful use, new numbers presented this week at the HIT Policy Committee meeting finds rates to be on the rise. Nearly 77 percent of hospitals eligible to attest to stage 2 have done so.
According to a Healthcare Informatics report on the meeting, of the 13 percent of providers who have so far attested for 2014, almost 60 percent have attested to stage 2.