This past spring, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services belatedly proposed multiple modifications to make the electronic health records meaningful use program more achievable for providers. Now, the American Hospital Association and other provider organizations are asking Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell for an immediate final rule as time is running out to attest.

“The rule is past due, given that it will affect the current program year for meaningful use,” the groups tell Burwell in an August 6 letter. “Indeed, under current rules, meaningful use applies to fiscal year performance for hospitals. FY 2015 ends on Sept. 30—fewer than 60 days from now.” Consequently, hospitals are looking for certainty of a final rule to select the best reporting period, which could even start in early October if reporting is changed to a calendar year.

Also See: CMS Seeks More Changes to MU Stages 1 and 2

In the letter, providers ask that some proposed changes, including a 90-days reporting period for FY 2015, and modifications to meaningful use objectives covering patient electronic access and secure messaging be finalized in the form that CMS proposed them.

However, other proposed changes, such as mandatory e-prescribing of discharge medications and adding additional public health reporting measures, simply are not realistic given the delay in a final rule and should not be finalized, according to the letter.

“Hospitals simply will not have sufficient time to understand the new requirements, work with their vendors to purchase and implement new or revised technology that would accommodate them, and invest in the training and workflow changes necessary to meet the new requirements,” the groups contend.

Other associations signing the letter include America’s Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Children’s Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, Premier healthcare alliance and VHA Inc.

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