CMS Proposes Extension of Stage 1 Meaningful Use in EHR program

A CMS proposal could extend the deadline for providers to transition to Stage 2 meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). Agency officials said they have received extensive feedback from health providers who felt they did not have enough time to efficiently transition their EHR systems.

A CMS proposal could extend the deadline for providers to transition to Stage 2 meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). Agency officials said they received extensive feedback from health providers who felt they did not have enough time to efficiently transition their EHR systems.

“We understand, based on information gained from EHR technology developers and ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies on timing, backlogs, and the certification case load, many EHR products were certified later than anticipated, which has impacted the corresponding time available to providers—especially hospitals—to effectively deploy 2014 Edition CEHRT and to make the necessary patient safety, staff training, and workflow investments in order to be prepared to demonstrate meaningful use in 2014,” said the CMS report.

Michael Lee, MD, MBA, director of clinical informatics at Atrius Health, provided a recent statement which emphasized his organization’s challenges with making the transition. He noted that the meaningful use requirement in the Massachusetts health information exchange, the state in which his organization operates, made it difficult to achieve meaningful use.

“Complexities of the measures around transitions of care make this the largest challenge we have faced thus far,” said Dr Lee. “The difficulty of implementing that and the meaningful use requirement that we send transactions has created an unusual dichotomy where everyone is preparing to send transactions but as of today no Massachusetts organization has published Direct standard addresses to receive our clinical summaries, so we cannot meet this measure at all as originally intended.”

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, head of The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, agreed that the extension would particularly help high-risk providers including smaller practices and rural hospitals.

Around the Web

CMS Proposes Stretching Stage 1 in EHR Incentive Program [Modern Healthcare]

Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Modifications, Revisions [Federal Register]

Health IT Leaders Detail Stage 2 MU Headaches [Healthcare Informatics]