A coalition of 18 industry stakeholders, including electronic health record vendors, health IT associations, and providers, is calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to finalize its proposed 2015-2017 changes to the EHR Incentive Program.
In a July 31 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the organizations warned that time is of the essence in finalizing the rule if eligible professionals and hospitals will be able to meet the reporting deadlines for 2015 and continue to participate in the program. In particular, they expressed their concerns that the October 3 deadline to begin the final possible 90-day reporting period in calendar year 2015 is fast-approaching and that if providers do not receive the Final Rule shortly, it will be very difficult to make workflow adjustments in a timely manner to meet programmatic deadlines and facilitate Meaningful Use tracking and reporting.
Under the proposed CMS rule released in April, the EHR reporting period in 2015 would be changed to a 90-day period aligned with the calendar year, and also would align the EHR reporting period in 2016 with the calendar year. In addition, the proposed rule would modify the patient action measures in the Stage 2 objectives related to patient engagement, as well as streamline the program by removing reporting requirements on measures which have become redundant, duplicative, or topped out through advancements in EHR function and provider performance for Stage 1 and Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.
Overall, the Departments efforts to simplify and focus meaningful use in the 2015-2017 Modifications Rule are welcomed by the communityand will be a key contributor to the ongoing success of the EHR Incentive Program. However, providers and technology developers need to have the certainty now that comes with a Final Rule in order to be able to meet the reporting deadlines for 2015 and continue participation in the program, states the letter.
The letter, signed by AMIA, CHIME, EHRA, HIMSS, and MGMA, as well as EHR vendors Allscripts, Cerner, GE Healthcare and Greenway Health, is available here.
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