Future of Meaningful Use is in question

The government seems to have done it yet again. First with ICD-10 and now with Meaningful Use … it’s creating more difficulty and expense for healthcare facilities.

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

On Aug. 29, 2014 the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) issued a final rule that allows providers participating in the EHR Incentive Programs to use the 2011 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for calendar and fiscal year 2014. While it provides some flexibility, it contains some onerous provisions.

Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) responded on Aug. 29 with the following statement:

This afternoon the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) finalized a regulation granting providers additional flexibility in meeting Meaningful Use (MU) requirements in 2014. However, the final rule lacked a key provision that would ensure continued EHR adoption and MU participation.”

Of significance is that the rule requires a 365-day attestation period in 2015. Currently the attestation period to meet Meaningful Use criteria is 90 days. I believe many facilities will have great difficulty in meeting the criteria and consequently incurring expensive penalties for failing to do so.

For example, part of MU requires 5 percent of patients being discharged to access their discharge instructions online. According to Sharon Busler, Director of Health Information Management at Catholic Medical Center “There is no way to legislate patient behavior.”

Branzell further stated: “Now the very future of Meaningful Use is in question.”

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One Response to Future of Meaningful Use is in question

  1. Hannah says:

    We are a small practice and we adopted MU from the first year it came out. It has been very expensive and very labor intensive. Stage two does not seem doable. Not only are we incurring more cost with the patient portal, I don’t see any way that we will be able to get 5% of patients to communicate with us via the portal. That is a crazy requirement, as we can’t control what the patients do. We have a a great deal of older patient population, and another large lower socioeconomic group. Many of those who have an email address will not even think to initiate communication via email as that is too advanced for their computer skills. And for those who can- a phone call is quicker and gets them answers much faster. Why would they spend time to log into the portal and post and question, then wait for an answer.
    I think we may just quit while we are ahead and forget about stage 2.

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