“Shock,” “Dismay,” And Stage 2 Of Meaningful Use

Jeff Smith | Healthcare Informatics | September 9, 2014

Sentiments of “shock” and “dismay” crowded my inbox at 5:00 pm a few weeks ago as healthcare CIOs reacted to a final rule modifying timelines and certified EHR definitions related to meaningful use in 2014.  These sentiments were tied to one, very specific provision that had nothing to do with program year 2014.

Make no mistake, this final rule was necessary.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices (CMS) and the Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) have been hearing for more than a year and a half that 2014 would be a difficult year for meaningful use.  CHIME began sounding the alarm in May 2013 by suggesting regulators reevaluate timelines.  We knew there was a collective education gap on how difficult the leap from Stage 1 and the 2011 Edition would be to Stage 2 and the 2014 Edition CEHRT.  Four months later, in September 2013, a group of 17 U.S. Senators, all Republicans, asked regulators to slow the pace of change required by meaningful use – a move that should have provided appropriate political cover for the administration to do something – still nothing, no relief.

Then, during HIMSS14 in February of last year, nearly 50 national-level provider organizations asked CMS for more time and flexibility to adopt 2014 Edition EHRs and meet Meaningful Use.  Three months following this letter, CMS proposed an NPRM that enjoyed, as Administrator Tavenner said last Friday, “overwhelming support.”...