Several health care organizations recently submitted comments about the proposed rules for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, CMIO reports (Byers, CMIO, 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, 5/8).
American College of Cardiology
The American College of Cardiology submitted comments stating that the proposed rules on Stage 2 of the meaningful use program "set the bar for success too high." ACC added, "The meaningful use criteria should encourage the appropriate, purposeful and accurate use of EHR tools, rather than mandate completion of tasks based on a particular timeline."
In addition, ACC recommended that CMS and ONC take steps to better understand health care providers' experiences with the meaningful use program by surveying health care providers who:
- Participated in Stage 1 of the meaningful use program;
- Did not participate in Stage 1 of the program; and
- Tried to participate in Stage 1 of the program but failed to qualify for incentive payments.
Certification Commission for Health IT
The Certification Commission for Health IT submitted comments urging ONC to direct the Health IT Standards Committee to recommend characteristics that could be associated with a "mature" standard.
Karen Bell, CCHIT chair, said the Stage 2 final rules should only include "standards that meet this level of maturity."
CCHIT also raised concerns about proposed changes to the definition of a certified EHR system, which it said would be unnecessarily confusing (CMIO, 5/8).
Medical Group Management Association
The Medical Group Management Association submitted comments calling for CMS to harmonize the meaningful use program's rewards and penalties with different rewards and penalties under the federal government's Physician Quality Reporting System and electronic prescribing program.
Robert Tennant, senior policy analyst for MGMA, said that health care providers particularly are concerned about the lack of alignment between the meaningful use program and the e-prescribing program. He said, "There is no reason why somebody who is tested for being a meaningful user should be penalized for not being an e-prescriber" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 5/8).
National Committee for Quality Assurance
The National Committee for Quality Assurance submitted comments recommending that federal officials amend Stage 2 requirements for group reporting of core and menu objectives.
The group noted that the proposed rules allow eligible professionals in group practices to attest using a "batch file process," but clinicians still must attest on an individual basis. The group said that the existing requirement would limit "the ability to take advantage of the alignment between NCQA's Patient-Centered Medical Home Program for practices and meaningful use."
NCQA also recommended that CMS standardize the reporting of physician clinical quality measures across its programs (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/8).