CHIME: CMS Meaningful Use requirements 'unnecessary'

The College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), in its comments on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) proposed rule for accountable care organizations (ACOs), said it "believes it is unnecessary" to require 50 percent of an ACO's primary-care physicians to meet all Meaningful Use standards by the beginning of an ACO's second year.

Functional information exchange and certified electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to be important components of ACOs, the group said. However, from both a patient management and business perspective, CHIME said it would not be imperative for an ACO's primary-care providers to meet all MU requirements.

In addition, CMS should not have to specify a minimum level of EHR Meaningful Use performance for the hospitals that are participating in an ACO, said the group which represents chief information officers.

Instead, CHIME called for CMS to focus on outcomes resulting from accountable care. Specifically, ACOs should be allowed to make decisions based on business requirements to achieve care coordination/information system domain requirements, rather than "prescribing Meaningful Use objectives as necessary" to be a participant in an ACO.

This recommendation is not designed to abdicate an ACO's responsibility to provide required performance data, CHIME said. Still, the penalties associated with bypassing Meaningful Use objectives at the current time are enough that some ACOs may be "perfectly capable of savings, per ACO goals, without meeting Meaningful Use."

For more details:
- view the CHIME letter to CMS (.pdf)