Meaningful Use Problems Go Beyond Just Software, Say “Stage 2 Flexibility” Critics

Gabriel Perna | Healthcare Informatics | September 2, 2014

The final rule for meaningful use Stage 2 flexibility, released late on Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), is not as popular as the government probably would have liked.  The rule does allow eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs), and critical access hospitals (CAHs) to use 2011 Edition certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT)  or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for an EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. However, the government has received sharp criticism from industry associations that the flexibility offered in these modifications was not enough to save hospitals and providers from receiving penalties down the line.

Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), says while his organization is grateful for the focus on the CEHRT software, most of MGMA’s recommendations, as well as the other comments CMS and ONC received, and many of the overall problems with meaningful use were ignored.  “They’ve decided to focus exclusively on the issue of the software not being ready. We believe the problems with Stage 2 go beyond the CEHRT. That’s certainly an issue and we’re pleased they’ve given EPs flexibility for 2014 but that doesn’t solve the many other issues with Stage 2, not least of all, some of the new requirements have proven to be extremely onerous and forced EPs to rely on the actions of third parties,” says Tennant, speaking exclusively to Healthcare Informatics...