Hospitals, Providers Continue to Struggle with Stage 2 Meaningful Use

September 8, 2014
Laura Joszt, MA
Laura Joszt, MA

Laura is the editorial director of The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®) and all its brands, including The American Journal of Accountable Care®, Evidence-Based Oncology™, and The Center for Biosimilars®. She has been working on AJMC® since 2014 and has been with AJMC®'s parent company, MJH Life Sciences, since 2011. She has an MA in business and economic reporting from New York University.

Numbers for Stage 2 meaningful use attestation remain very low, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Numbers for Stage 2 meaningful use attestation remain very low, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

During a Sept. 3 Health IT Policy Committee meeting, CMS reported 143 eligible hospitals and 3,125 eligible professionals attested to Stage 2 meaningful use as of August 25. Although these numbers represent an 83% and 66% increase, respectively, since August 1, they are still sluggish, according to Health Data Management.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) estimated that roughly 50% of eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals are scheduled to meet Stage 2 requirements this year, and nearly 85% will be need to meet requirements in 2015.

Although CMS released on August 29 a new final rule that allows more flexibility in how providers use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use requirements in 2014, CHIME president and chief executive officer Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO, expressed his dismay with the modification.

While providers can use either the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT when reporting in 2014, they are still required to use the 2014 CEHRT Edition in 2015.

“Most hospitals who take advantage of new pathways made possible through this final rule will not be in a position to meet Stage 2 requirements beginning October 1, 2014,” Branzell said in a statement. “This means that penalties avoided in 2014 will come in 2015, and millions of dollars will be lost due to misguided government timelines.”

Furthermore, CHIME believed the final rule’s requirement of 365 days of EHR reporting in 2015 ensures that the industry’s struggles with EHR adoption and meaningful use participation will continue.

Instead, CHIME recommends offering providers the option in 2015 of reporting any 3-month quarter EHR reporting period.

“This sensible recommendation, if taken, would have assuaged industry concerns over the pace and trajectory of rulemaking; it would have pushed providers to meet a higher bar, without pushing them off the cliff; and it would have ensured the long-term vitality of the program itself,” Branzell said.