On Monday, March 31, HIMSS sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with near-term recommendations to continue moving the Meaningful Use (MU) program forward.
Over the past several weeks, HIMSS conducted a survey of its membership, talked to relevant stakeholders, and reviewed existing requirements for the MU program. HIMSS offered these recommendations to CMS to maximize the number of eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) successfully attesting to the program’s requirements using a 2014 certified EHR, and to keep our nation on the path toward health care transformation.
The HIMSS letter notes that the timeline for MU Stage 2 implementation remains a major topic of discussion, with many EPs and EHs ready for the next MU stage, but other EPs and EHs increasingly citing timeline and implementation challenges in preparation for Stage 2.
In its letter, HIMSS strongly recommended that CMS:
1. Extend Year 1 of the MU Stage 2 attestation period through April 2015 and June 2015 for EHs and EPs, respectively.
HIMSS reiterated its recommendation from its August 2013 Call to Action that asked HHS to launch Stage 2 on schedule, and extend Year 1 of the MU Stage 2 attestation period. HIMSS also called on CMS to accept and process hardship exception applications before the final filing deadline, so EPs and EHs can have a sense of whether the exception parameters are applicable for their specific circumstances.
2. Establish itself as the unequivocal “Single Source of Truth” on program requirements.
To comprehensively understand the needs of EPs and EHs, HIMSS recommended that CMS immediately and greatly increase its listening sessions across the United States and overall outreach to the provider community.
3. Simplify Clinical Quality Measure requirements until standards and processes can support robust electronic reporting.
Several critical issues still exist for quality reporting to truly improve the quality of care delivery while not making data collection an overly burdensome part of a workflow. HIMSS asked CMS for greater clarification and coordination in this area as a key to addressing uncertainty.
4. Launch association collaboration to “translate” program requirements.
As soon as possible, HIMSS recommended that CMS convene a stakeholder group of Subject Matter Experts to clarify specific program requirements through language that can be easily understood by most EPs and EHs. In addition to making it easier for stakeholders to understand, such language would also support HHS’ vision for the role of IT in healthcare transformation.