Health Groups Urge Changes to Meaningful Use Program

A coalition of health care organizations sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell recommending that the agency overhaul the meaningful use program with a focus on interoperability, Healthcare IT News reports.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

The letter was signed by the:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians;
  • American Medical Association;
  • Medical Group Management Association;
  • Memorial Healthcare System;
  • Mountain States Health Alliance;
  • National Rural Health Association;
  • Premier; and
  • Summa Health System.

The organizations recommended that HHS:

  • Dismiss restrictive policies under the meaningful use program that hinder health IT innovation;
  • Focus on interoperability, quality measure reporting and privacy and security in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's EHR certification requirements;
  • Promote collaboration between stakeholders to develop health IT that meets clinical care needs; and
  • Recognize that vendors and providers need adequate time to develop and implement new technologies (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 10/15).

AMA Sends Separate Letter to CMS, ONC

In related news, AMA sent a separate letter to CMS and ONC sharing recommendations included in a new blueprint to ensure the success of Stage 3, Clinical Innovation & Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 10/15).

In the letter, AMA said it is "necessary to pause and fully assess what is working and what needs improvement before moving ahead to Stage 3 of the program" (Goedert, Health Data Management, 10/14).

AMA recommended that CMS and ONC work to better align the meaningful use program with federal rules for providers while increasing flexibility within the program and improving EHRs (Gold, "Morning eHealth," Politico, 10/15).

Specifically, the AMA blueprint recommends that the agencies:

  • Expand options for specialists in Stage 3 and require physicians to meet 10 or fewer Stage 3 measures;
  • Provide hardship exemptions for all stages of the meaningful use program; and
  • Remove the all-or-nothing attestation approach and instead implement a 50% threshold for incurring penalties and a 75% mark for earning Stage 1 and Stage 2 incentives.

AMA added that physicians should not be penalized as a result of problems with meaningful use measures and standards (Health Data Management, 10/14).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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