Anemic Growth of Stage 2 Attestations Continues

Eight eligible hospitals and 447 eligible professionals have attested to Stage 2 meaningful use, according to the latest update provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at a June 10 meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee.

While those are relatively low numbers, they are up from a month ago when CMS informed the committee that only four hospitals and 50 physicians had achieved Stage 2 MU electronic health records.

Last month, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced a proposed rule to ease compliance with meaningful use requirements during 2014 and to extend Stage 2 by a year through 2015. This flexibility would help to relieve the burden on providers, allowing them to use EHRs that have been certified under the 2011 Edition for either Stage 1 or Stage 2 for the purposes of the 2014 reporting year.

“Due to delays in certification of 2014 Edition EHRs and delivery of vendor products, very few hospitals have been able to meet the stringent meaningful use requirements using the 2014 Edition,” said Rick Pollack, executive vice president for the American Hospital Association. “Without the flexibility the proposed rule offers, many, if not most, hospitals would not meet meaningful use in FY2014 and would be a setback to the movement toward widespread adoption of these new technologies.”

When it comes to Stage 1 attestation for eligible professionals, the news is much better. ONC provided an update at the HIT Policy Committee meeting reporting that 59 percent of eligible professionals have attested to Stage 1, 15 percent have received a Medicaid Adopt, Implement and Upgrade (AIU) incentive only payment, 17 percent have registered for the program and have not yet received incentives, 5 percent are enrolled in a regional extension center, and only 3 percent of eligible professionals have not signed up to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Overall, CMS said 91 percent of eligible hospitals have received an EHR incentive payment to date for either MU or Medicaid AIU, while 88 percent of eligible professionals have registered for the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. As of the end of May, CMS has made incentive payments of approximately $24 billion.

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