CHIME: Meaningful Use flexibility rule provides 'much needed relief'

Another major stakeholder has weighed in early on the federal government's proposed rule providing flexibility in the criteria to be used when attesting to Meaningful Use in 2014, with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) supporting the "new pathways" in the rule.

In its comment letter on the proposed rule, dated June 27, CHIME--calling itself a "fierce supporter" of the Meaningful Use Incentive Program--lauds the flexibility of allowing providers to use the 2011 edition of certified EHR technology (CEHRT), as well as the option to attest using the 2013 definition of clinical quality measures in 2014.

"We believe these new pathways will provide much needed relief to hundreds of thousands of providers struggling to meet MU requirements in 2014, due to circumstances beyond their control," the letter states.

However, CHIME recommends that several changes be made, including:

  • Allowing providers to use a combination of 2011 and 2014 edition of CEHRT when reporting clinical quality measures
  • Retrospectively allowing providers who attest before the rule is finalized to be treated the same by program auditors as those who attest afterward
  • Allowing providers to choose any quarter for reporting through the next calendar or fiscal year to qualify for Meaningful Use in 2015
  • Removing the requirement that providers attest that they have fully implemented 2014 CEHRT, since that may not be possible in 2014 through no fault of the provider.

Alternatively, CHIME says, the agencies should clarify that there are scenarios that could prevent a provider from fully implementing that are not mentioned in the rule, noting that "[t]here is widespread concern among CIOs that program auditors will be overly zealous in determining what implementation and workflow changes merit the ability to take advantage of new flexibility." The American Hospital Association (AHA) had also expressed concern that the proposed rule excluded scenarios that could restrict full implementation.

CHIME expressed concern about the late timing but did not go as far as the AHA, which asked for the final rule "as quickly as possible." However, CHIME did submit its comments three weeks earlier than the July 21 comment deadline.

To learn more:
- read the comment letter (.pdf)