AHA ‘dismayed’ at lack of Meaningful Use relief from CMS

Doctor typing on laptop
New CMS rules failed to delay Meaningful Use regulations, prompting pushback from the nation's hospital association.

Amid a slew of payment updates released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week, one issue was conspicuously absent: relief from Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements.

Although CMS provided some regulatory relief for physician under a proposed MACRA rule released last month, which allows physician practices to continue using the 2014 Edition Certified EHRs, the agency offered no reprieve in its proposed Outpatient Prospective Payment rule posted last week.

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American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said he was “dismayed” the CMS failed to relieve hospitals of “unrealistic and unachievable” Meaningful Use Stage 3 reporting requirements, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2018.

The mandate for all hospitals and critical access hospitals to switch to new EHR functionality and report for a full year is unattainable and is at odds with the meaningful use flexibility proposed for eligible clinicians in the Quality Payment Program proposed rule,” Nickels said in a statement.

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Numerous health IT organizations have called on CMS to delay the certification requirements and Meaningful Use Stage 3 from six months to a year. Earlier this year, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives called on HHS Secretary Tom Price to delay MU requirements “indefinitely,” adding to calls from provider organizations like the American Medical Association that argued rushed implementation of EHR upgrades could compromise patient safety.