CMS: Meaningful Use programs making 'exciting progress'

The Meaningful Use incentive program is making "exciting progress" in both provider participation and in meeting the program requirements, according to a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data brief.

In an unsigned blog post published Jan. 31, CMS provided a closer look at the latest data on the incentive program. Ninety-three percent of eligible hospitals and 82 percent of eligible professionals now are registered for the program. Meanwhile, more than 334,081 providers have received payment for successfully attesting; the attestation success rates of eligible professionals was a whopping 99.9 percent; and more than $17.7 billion in payments have been made so far.

"We are very pleased with the level of participation in these programs and hope to reach 100 percent provider participation this year," the post states.

The data brief also reveals that, in some cases, providers are not just meeting the requirements for Meaningful Use, but instead are "far exceeding" them. For instance, the objective for medication reconciliation required a threshold of 50 percent; the actual average threshold was 90 percent. Likewise, the required threshold for timely e-access was 10 percent; the actual average performance was 75 percent.

The report mirrors the cheerleading of new ONC head Karen DeSalvo of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief, which found that nearly 80 percent of office-based physicians used an EHR and that the Meaningful Use program "is healthy and growing steadily."

While these are impressive numbers, neither data brief addressed the concern that providers may have more trouble meeting Stage 2 of the program, which begins this year, or the prediction that frustrated providers may opt to drop out of the program entirely.

To learn more:
- read the blog post
- here's the data brief (.pdf)