HIMSS EHR Association Submits Comments on Stage 2 Proposed Rules

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The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's Electronic Health Record Association has submitted two comment letters on the proposed rules for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Healthcare IT News reports.

Background

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR 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.

Monday is the deadline for submitting comments about the Stage 2 proposed rules (iHealthBeat, 5/1).

Letter to CMS

In its letter to CMS, the association wrote that it is concerned that EHR vendors and clients will face challenges because of "the large number of proposed clinical quality measures and the dearth of available data on their final specifications."

The group added, "The expectation that specifications for the [clinical quality measures] will not be available until summer 2012 creates additional pressure on both vendors and providers."

Therefore, the association recommended that CMS finalize fewer clinical quality measures for Stage 2 and be highly selective about choosing the measures.

Letter to ONC

In its letter to ONC, the association urged federal officials to allow health care providers who are still in Stage 1 of the meaningful use program in 2014 to continue using Stage 1-certified EHR systems rather than quickly switching to Stage 2-certified EHR technology.

The letter stated, "As was generally agreed across the industry and by the Health IT Policy Committee, a full 18 months is needed between release of the final rules and when providers need to upgrade" (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/7).


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