The Premier healthcare alliance has submitted comments urging the federal government to publish final rules on Stage 2 of the meaningful use program by August or extend Stage 1 of the program for an extra year, Healthcare IT News reports (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 5/2).
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
In February, CMS released a proposed rule outlining requirements for hospitals and health care providers seeking to attest to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT also released a proposed rule outlining standards and criteria for the certification of EHRs under Stage 2 of the meaningful use program.
The deadline for submitting comments about the Stage 2 proposed rules is May 7 (iHealthBeat, 5/1).
Details of Premier's Comments
Premier said that a failure to publish the Stage 2 final rules by August would significantly compromise health care providers' ability to meet Stage 2 requirements beginning in 2014. Premier said that if the Stage 2 rules are not released by August, CMS should continue Stage 1 for another year and start Stage 2 in 2015.
Premier also recommended that the federal government:
- Modify hospital eligibility requirements to ensure that hospitals with multiple inpatient facilities can receive meaningful use incentive payments for each facility;
- Adjust several core hospital objectives to ensure that they are appropriate for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals;
- Assess whether the menu set of meaningful use objectives includes enough feasible measures for the typical hospital;
- Avoid increasing the number of clinical quality measures that must be reported in Stage 2; and
- Allow an exemption to payment adjustments for hospitals with an incumbent EHR vendor that has failed to obtain timely certification of its relevant EHR product (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 5/2).