Understanding Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage 2 Deadlines – Meaningful Use Monday

The following is a guest blog post by Zubin Emsley, CEO of ChartLogic, Inc. I think readers will find this post by Zubin quite interesting. He brings up some important points, makes some strong assertions, and even makes some daring projections. I look forward to more discussion of the post in the comments. Are we at “the tipping point?”

With all the controversy surrounding the CMS’s proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements, it is easy to forget that the clock is ticking on the Stage 1 requirements. Physicians who have not yet qualified for the Stage 1 incentives are at risk of leaving $5,000 of incentives on the table if they don’t get started immediately.

The comment period on the proposed Stage 2 rules is now closed and the CMS is expected to incorporate the comments and issue final rules around August 1. The Stage 2 program is currently scheduled to take effect for eligible providers on Jan. 1, 2014; however, there is a good chance this date will be pushed back.

Physicians who want to qualify for the full, five-years’ worth of meaningful use incentives ($44,000 total) must register, adopt a certified EHR system and submit 90-days’ worth of data by Jan. 1, 2013. That means your practice must have incorporated your EHR system into its workflow and be collecting the needed data sets by Oct. 3, 2012.

Since most medical groups need several months to select an EHR vendor, get their new system installed, and get physicians and staff trained, that means time is running out for those who have postponed a decision.

If you miss this year’s deadline, you may still participate in MU Stage 1 next year (2013); however, you will only be eligible for four years of payments ($39,000 total). Those who wait until 2014 to qualify will only be eligible for $24,000 in payments.

We have reached “the tipping point” in terms of EHR adoption. Penalties for failing to e-prescribe began this year, and in 2014 and 2015, physicians will face mounting financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid if they don’t adopt an EHR. Commercial insurers are also adopting various kinds of accountable care programs that require submission of clinical data. Within five years, the only way a physician practice will be able to operate without an EHR would be if it moved to an all-cash, concierge type model.

Zubin Emsley is chief executive officer of ChartLogic, Inc., a national EHR vendor based in Salt Lake City. For more information see www.chartlogic.com

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • I don’t think we can remind physicians enough that the clock is ticking on this, but the part of your post I think is most important is this:

    “Since most medical groups need several months to select an EHR vendor, get their new system installed, and get physicians and staff trained, that means time is running out for those who have postponed a decision.”

    I hope that every physician and office manager reading this takes that line to heart because I see so many implementations get tripped up or outright fail due to the thinking that implementing an EMR is going to be a cinch. Many EMR’s tout their user-friendliness but no matter how elegant, customizable, or simple your user experience is, a lot of medical professionals formerly working in the world of paper have to make fundamental changes to their workflow to accommodate a computer-based system. And those changes take time.

  • We can confirm as well that we are at the tipping point. In our latest annual survey, PDR doctors self-reported about a 48% EHR uptake. That’s a pretty remarkable stat as we were careful to not allow them to count e-Rx as full EHR usage. The range of EHRs being used was as expected (FYI, Chartlogic was well represented).

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