Within a couple hours of the final electronic health records meaningful use rules being released on August 23, associations started issuing initial reactions. Following is a sample of their thoughts:

American Hospital Association: “In today’s final rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services addressed some Stage 2 timing concerns raised by AHA.   While we appreciate that CMS has allowed for a shorter meaningful use reporting period for 2014, we are disappointed that this rule sets an unrealistic date by which hospitals must achieve the initial meaningful use requirements to avoid penalties.  In addition, CMS complicated the reporting of clinical quality measures and added to the meaningful use objectives, creating significant new burdens. Information technology holds the promise of making care better for patients and communities.  That’s why America’s hospitals are committed to adopting the technology needed to do so, but today’s rule presents obstacles to achieving that goal.”

Medical Group Management Association: “MGMA is pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services responded to our concerns regarding several of the proposed Stage 2 meaningful use requirements. Extending the start for stage 2 until 2014 was a necessary step to permit medical groups sufficient time to implement new software. Permitting group reporting will reduce administrative burden, as will lowering the thresholds for achieving certain measures such as mandatory online access and electronic exchange of summary of care documents. MGMA supports the rule’s expanded list of exclusions and believes it will allow physicians to achieve meaningful use with fewer hurdles.”

American Health Information Management Association: “As HIM professionals, we are a critical component to the reporting of clinical and HIT quality measures in achieving meaningful use. We are pleased to see that CMS has heard our calls for increased alignment of quality reporting programs and acknowledgement of making an effort to reduce the reporting burden and duplication of reporting.  We also stand ready to support patients and their ability to have online access to their health information to ensure its privacy, integrity, and timeliness for their continued care.”

National Partnership for Women & Families: “The Stage 2 Final Rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this afternoon is a huge step forward. It brings us closer to the days when fewer overwhelmed patients and their family caregivers struggle to keep track of tests, diagnoses and medications; beg their doctors to talk to one another; suffer avoidable medical errors; and pay for duplicative and unnecessary care. The rule issued today offers the promise of better, more efficient care, improved safety and fewer hospital readmissions.”

Premier Healthcare Alliance: “In implementing the final meaningful use rule today, the Premier healthcare alliance believes CMS has made some extremely important changes that will help facilitate the rapid adoption of health information technologies, including electronic health records. In particular, the Premier alliance strongly supports CMS’ decision to give providers until 2014 to attest to Stage Two meaningful use, giving providers the necessary time to prepare and implement the new requirements. We are also pleased that CMS decided to ease the proposed rule’s reporting requirements. In taking a more manageable approach, hospitals will have additional flexibility, ensuring that a greater number of facilities will take steps to implement EHRs and improve patient care.”

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