Tavenner Acknowledges Health Care Industry's Concerns on Stage 2

At the American Hospital Association's annual meeting on Monday, acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner acknowledged some of the health care industry's concerns about Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Modern Healthcare reports (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 5/7).

Background on AHA's Concerns

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.

Last week, AHA sent a letter to CMS stating that the proposed requirements for Stage 2 of the meaningful program "raise the bar too high and are not feasible for the majority of hospitals to achieve."

The letter noted that hospitals particularly are concerned about a requirement that they allow patients to view or download their health information within 36 hours of discharge.

AHA stated that the requirement "is at best premature given that no final rule has been issued to implement HITECH's specific mandate for a right of patients to obtain electronic copies of their protected health information when that information is part of an EHR" (iHealthBeat, 5/3).

Tavenner Addresses Concerns

At AHA's annual conference, Tavenner said that she has reviewed AHA's letter and understands that the hospital industry has concerns about the Stage 2 criteria (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 5/7).

Tavenner noted that CMS is reviewing industry feedback about the deadlines for the meaningful use program. She said, "On electronic health records, we're going to learn from you that you need more time" (Sanger-Katz, National Journal, 5/7). She added, "We obviously have a lot of work to do around meaningful use next stage" (AHA News, 5/7).

Although CMS is reviewing numerous public comments, Tavenner said that the agency will not delay publication of the final Stage 2 rules (CQ HealthBeat, 5/7).

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