AMA, HIMSS urge HHS to simplify Meaningful Use regs

Seven healthcare groups--taking on a challenge posed this past February at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting--have proposed five recommendations that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could implement to promote greater success by providers in meeting Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements.

A collaborative letter outlining those opportunities was sent last week to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius--who initiated the challenge--by the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, College of Health Information Management Executives, Electronic Health Record Association, Federation of American Hospitals, and HIMSS.

Those proposals are as follows: 

  • Reducing regulatory complexity: The groups said that while many healthcare providers are attempting to become Meaningful Users, they also are preparing at the same time for the conversion to new administrative transaction codes and operating rules such as ICD-10 or 5010.
  • Clarifying certification and site certification processes: A growing level of "confusion and frustration" is emerging, the groups said, regarding elements of the certification process. This includes treatment of ancillary and non-certifiable IT applications used to meet provider goals for quality, safety, efficiency, or data sharing.
  • Addressing providers' resource requirements to meet MU: The groups said it will be critical for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to create a mechanism to evaluate how Stage 1 is working; to identify barriers to compliance; and to make the findings public.
  • Clarifying and improving registration, attestation, and compliance processes: While efforts have been made by CMS to educate providers about EHR incentive programs, the complexity of these processes "requires even greater educational efforts and resolution of specific issues," they said.
  • Evaluating a regulatory timeline: To allow adequate time for safe development, implementation, and adoption of software, the timeline for Stage 2 of MU needs to be at least 18 months between final rules on MU, certification, and standards--and the start of the next stage of MU.

For more information:
- see the collaborative group letter (.pdf)

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