The Medical Group Management Association says: CMS Should Extend 2015 Meaningful Use Reporting Period

The Medical Group Management Association urged CMS to extend the 2015 reporting period for the meaningful use program, citing concerns about the agency's delay in finalizing proposed program modifications for 2015 through 2017, FierceEMR reports (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 9/1).

Background

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

In April, CMS released a proposed rule that would shorten Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use attestation for eligible professionals and hospitals to a 90-day period in 2015.

In addition, the proposed rule would:

  • Realign the reporting period starting in 2015 to allow hospitals to participate on the calendar year instead of the current fiscal year period;
  • Reduce the number of meaningful use objectives to improve advanced use of EHRs; and
  • Remove redundant measures and those that have become widely adopted.

The proposed rule also would change Stage 2 meaningful use requirements related to patient engagement (iHealthBeat, 8/3).

MGMA Comments

In its comments, MGMA -- which represents more than 33,000 medical practice administrators and executives in the U.S. -- warned that CMS has waited too long to finalize the rules (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 9/2).

In a release, MGMA President and CEO Halee Fischer-Wright said, "Even if the final rule came out today, the window of time that CMS is leaving medical groups and vendors to adjust workflows and update systems is both unacceptable and unrealistic." She added, "Forcing groups and their EHR vendor partners to scramble in a short period of time to meet the Oct. 3 start date for the last reporting period essentially guarantees that a significant number of program participants will fail in 2015."

Instead, MGMA suggested CMS allow program participants to attest for 2015 during the last 90 days of the year or extend it into the first 90 days of 2016 (Heath, EHR Intelligence, 9/1).

In addition, MGMA recommended CMS use a 90-day reporting period for 2016, which would give those who attested for 2015 in the first 90 days of 2016 an additional three quarters to attest to the new measures (Health Data Management, 9/2).

Fischer-Wright said, "Providing this flexibility will permit groups additional time to upgrade their EHRs to the revised Stage 2 specifications and test these systems to ensure that they are able to conform to program requirements while meeting the practical needs of clinicians and their patients" (EHR Intelligence, 9/1).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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