On Monday, the American Medical Association -- joined by 98 state and specialty medical societies -- submitted a letter to CMS commenting on the proposed rules for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Healthcare IT News reports (Miliard , Healthcare IT News, 5/8).
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.
Monday was the deadline for submitting comments about the Stage 2 proposed rules (iHealthBeat, 5/7).
Details of the AMA Letter
In the letter, Steven Stack, AMA board chair-elect, wrote, "The AMA is supportive of widespread adoption and meaningful use of EHRs by physicians, but the cumbersome proposed criteria will make successful physician participation extremely difficult."
He said the proposed criteria would require extensive manual data entry, "which is not an efficient way of practicing medicine or improving quality care outcomes for patients."
AMA offered several recommendations, including that CMS should survey physicians who participated in Stage 1 to inform final Stage 2 criteria (Healthcare IT News, 5/8).
Consumer Groups Submit Comments
Twenty-one consumer groups also submitted a comment letter to CMS about Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, calling for tougher requirements mandating that patients have access to their health data within 24 hours of visiting a physician or being discharged from the hospital. Under the Stage 2 proposed rules, patients must be able to access their health data within four business days after the information becomes available to their health care provider and within 36 hours of a hospital discharge.
The consumer advocates also pressed for greater use of secure messaging between health care providers and patients (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/8).
HIMSS Submits Comments
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society also submitted a comment letter, urging federal officials to continue reviewing the proposed timeline to meet Stage 2 criteria.
The group said it "strongly" encouraged the federal government to incorporate a 90- to 180-day reporting period for the first year of Stage 2 in 2014 (Miliard , Healthcare IT News, 5/8).
Other Groups Offer Comments
Links to comment letters from other organizations about the Stage 2 proposed rules are provided below.