A variety of healthcare organizations are calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to set a 90-day reporting period for providers that to qualify for meaningful use.

The request is important, because the current regulations require providers to show data from 365 days in order to attest to achieving objectives in the federal incentive program for electronic health records. Last year, CMS eased requirements so that providers only had to submit data for a 90-day period.

In general, it’s easier for providers to have shorter reporting periods, because it eases their data collection requirements, and it increases the chances that they’ll meet MU objectives.

The organizations’ letter to CMS requests the change “to continue this positive momentum and enable providers to successfully transition to a reoriented 2017 program.”

Marc Probst
Marc Probst

Key signators include the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Federation of American Hospitals, the Medical Group Management Association and the Premier healthcare alliance.

The letter recommends CMS “allow participants to report on any 90-day period in 2016, as was the policy in 2015. Doing so will continue the significant progress providers are making to harness the use of technology to succeed in new payment and care delivery models.

“Further, announcing this as soon as possible will reduce the number of providers who will feel compelled to rely on filing for a hardship,” the letter adds.

The groups also says a 365-day reporting period, will make “it significantly more challenging for providers to prepare for the transition to the new MACRA requirements.”

“Changes made to the Meaningful Use program last year provided welcomed relief from burdensome regulatory requirements,” says Marc Probst, CHIME board chair and chief information officer for Intermountain Healthcare. “Providers now are awaiting further changes to the program spurred by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. However, the current regulatory scheme still calls for a 365-day reporting period.

“Until the final MACRA rules are issued, providers will be greatly challenged to meet the reporting requirements. Maintaining a 365-day reporting period also will force providers to pull resources away from using health IT to innovate care processes and workflows,” Probst contends. “Additionally, it will limit the amount of time providers and vendors could spend on improving interoperability and information exchange.”

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