The Medical Group Management Association, representing more than 33,000 medical practice administrators and executives in practices around the country, has a stark message for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: if you do not finalize much-needed Stage 2 Meaningful Use rule modifications—and soon—many providers will be unable to attest in 2015.
MGMA is the latest in a long line of industry groups to pressure CMS to finalize the proposed Stage 2 rule modifications, including shortening the 2015 reporting period from a full year to 90 consecutive days. In April, the agency first published a proposed rule outlining changes to Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Program, but CMS continues to be silent on the final status of the rule.
“Even if the final rule came out today, the window of time that CMS is leaving medical groups and vendors to adjust workflows and update systems is both unacceptable and unrealistic,” said Halee Fischer-Wright, M.D., president and CEO of MGMA. “Forcing groups and their EHR vendor partners to scramble in a short period of time to meet the Oct. 3 start date for the last reporting period essentially guarantees that a significant number of program participants will fail in 2015. Adding to this challenge is the fact that the industry is facing the transition to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, yet another demanding government initiative.”
Given the “significantly delayed” publication of the final regulation and the fact that providers have just one month to complete system updates and comply with new requirements, MGMA is urging CMS to allow medical groups the option of reporting for 2015 in the last 90 days of 2015 or into the first 90 days of 2016. For the 2016 reporting year, MGMA recommends that the agency move to a 90-day reporting period—permitting those providers who select the first 90 days of 2016 to report 2015 measures three remaining quarters to report 2016 measures.
“Without having a definitive set of program measures, and sufficient time to incorporate them into EHR software and practice workflow, medical groups simply cannot responsibly transition to the modified Stage 2 requirements without a massive drop-off in participation,” said Fischer-Wright. “Providing this flexibility will permit groups additional time to upgrade their EHRs to the revised Stage 2 specifications and test these systems to ensure that they are able to conform to program requirements while meeting the practical needs of clinicians and their patients. An extension of the 2015 reporting year is absolutely vital to continued program success.”
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