Killing Meaningful Use and Proposals to Change It

Isn’t it nice that National Health IT Week brings people together to complain about meaningful use? Ok, that’s only partially in jest. Marc Probst, CIO of Intermountain and a member of the original meaningful use/EHR Certification committee (I lost track of the formal name), is making a strong statement as quoted by Don Fluckinger above.

Marc Probst is right that the majority of healthcare would be really happy to put a knife in meaningful use and move on from it. That’s kind of what I proposed when I suggested blowing up meaningful use. Not to mention my comments that meaningful use is on shaky ground. Comments from people like Marc Probst are proof of this fact.

In a related move, CHIME, AMDIS and 15 other healthcare organizations sent a letter to the HHS Secretary calling for immediate action to amend the 2015 meaningful use reporting period. These organizations believed that the final rule on meaningful use flexibility would change the reporting period, but it did not. It seems like they’re coming out guns blazing.

In even bigger news (albeit probably related), Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT) just introduced the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) act. This act would “allow providers to report their Health IT upgrades in 2015 through a 90-day reporting period as opposed to a full year.” I have yet to see any prediction on whether this act has enough support in Congress to get passed, but we could once again see congress act when CMS chose a different course of action like they did with ICD-10.

This story is definitely evolving and the pressure to change the reporting period to 90 days is on. My own personal prediction is that CMS will have to make the change. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Happy National Health IT Week!

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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.

8 Comments

  • One year reporting is very onerous and really unnecessary. This only will lead to further long audit processes, extended resource utilization by practices for non-healthcare reporting and further the divide, throwing many Doctors into the position of leaving MU.

    90 days is plenty to report, it will also hurt vendors because we have to help the practices through this process.

  • For all eligible providers who will demonstrate MU in the last quarter of 2014 using a 2011 certified EHR and being required to attest by February 28, 2015, it is impractical for them to be prepared on Jan. 1 or 2, the “next day”, having updated to a 2014 Edition certified EHR and having been trained to use new software to demonstrate MU Stage 2. Making this a requirement starting Jan. 1 also seems to create a potential patient safety hazard in my opinion.

    I understand why the recent rule did not address a change in the 2015 reporting period, but what has prevented CMS/ONC from separately shortening the reporting period by one or more quarters. Even a 9 month reporting period would be 1000% more practical (and safer) than starting Jan.1. Because they have not done so, I think it most likely that the period will be reduced to 90 days. If CMS/ONC or the House and Senate do nothing, a huge number of participants will most likely not update to a 2014 Edition EHR, causing EHR vendors huge losses due to their non subsidized investment in producing certified products if anyone cares, and causing the Incentive program to lose thousands of participants.

    Any change in requirements from CMS/ONC will now take until the end of December at best if the same comment period and response is required.

  • Physicians only agreed to participate in this in the beginning so they could receive the incentive payments to help cover the costs of the EHR requirements placed on physicians. Now that they have “rewarded” all those physicians for incurring all the extra costs and overhead to “meet” those standards they are auditing those physicians and demanding refunds and fining them if they or their systems were incorrect in reporting certain things.The atmosphere in a physician office and hospitals around the country have changed to tension filled, cold and unhappy places. Which makes patients feel like the healthcare providers do not care about their needs, little do they know the requirements our government has placed on the Healthcare industry. I say kill MU and PQRS and lets get back to treating patients and finding cures for diseases. Quite wasting my tax money on this unnecessary evil!

  • Some great insights. I agree Mark that there are some practical challenges to a year like the ones you mention. Kelly, that’s the feeling of many physicians. I don’t think MU will be killed, but I think it will go to 90 days.

  • I think you are correct John, they won’t let the program die, just like they won’t concede that the ACA is an absolute failure. They will continue to “prop up” the MU program for awhile. Eventually, physicians will just refuse to participate and the program will simply “die on the vine”.

    I can tell you that my own personal internal medicine physician told me that even though they are “meeting” the measures in his practice, they are falling woefully short at the hospital. It is a small community hospital that has spent literally hundreds of thousands to upgrade to MU-2. He said that at this point, they are so far behind on meeting the MU 2 measures, there is simply not enough time to make up the difference by the end of this month. This means they will lose approximately $1.2 million in incentives. I am quite sure this is a common theme throughout the country. And I’ll say this again, with somewhere around only 1% participation so far from doctors and hospitals, I don’t see how the program will continue.

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