AHA to CMS: All-or-nothing Meaningful Use approach 'misguided,' 'overly burdensome'

The American Hospital Association, in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is asking the agency to eliminate the "all-or-nothing approach" to Meaningful Use.

In the letter to CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator Patrick Conway, M.D., the AHA calls the policy "misguided" and says the complexity of MU criteria is "overly burdensome," especially for providers who expend time and money to meet as many of the requirements as possible but still fall slightly short.

In September 2014, CMS asked Monticello, Arkansas-based Drew Memorial Hospital to return more than $900,000 in incentive payments after a post-payment audit found that the facility failed one of the 19 measures of Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, FierceEMR previously reported.

AHA wrote in its letter that it appreciates modifications made to the program in the last two years, but also says that the agency can meet its obligations without taking the all-or-nothing approach to how many objectives must be met within the program requirements.

The letter also outlines the ways in which CMS has the authority to eliminate the all-or-nothing approach, and notes that "the agency should do so by allowing providers that attest to meeting 70 percent of the requirements to be designated as meaningful users."

This is not the first time the AHA has lobbied for the change.

In testimony at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health earlier this month, both AHA and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives recommended a move from the all-or-nothing grading system to a pass/fail approach, urging that CMS not penalize providers if they meet most of the requirements.

To learn more:
- here's the letter (.pdf)

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