As part of a Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule proposed Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services looks to shorten the reporting period for Meaningful Use attestation from a full year to 90 days for eligible professionals (EPs), hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) returning to the program. The rule comes in the wake of considerable outcry from providers and legislators who have called 365-day reporting periods too burdensome.
For instance, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and other organizations in March sent a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt requesting that the reporting period be shortened, as it had been both in 2015 and 2014. The following month, the six GOP senators who called for a "reboot" of the Meaningful Use program in 2013 drafted legislation that creates a 90-day reporting period for providers.
Another bill unveiled in April by a group of bipartisan lawmakers also sought to shorten the reporting period for providers attesting to Meaningful Use down to 90 days.
CMS came to the decision to change the reporting period after reviewing the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for clinicians as part of its implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
The rule also proposes eliminating clinical decision support and computerized provider order entry objectives and measures for EHs and CAHs attesting to Meaningful Use under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program; the changes would not apply to providers in the Medicaid EHR program.
What’s more, for new program participants in 2017 who have not previously successfully demonstrated Meaningful Use, CMS proposes they be required to attest to Modified Stage 2 parameters by Oct. 1, 2017. “After the publication of the 2015 EHR Incentive Program Final Rule, CMS determined that, due to cost and time limitation concerns related specifically to 2015 CEHRT updates in the EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System, it is not technically feasible for EPs, eligible hospitals and CAHs that have not successfully demonstrated Meaningful Use in a prior year to attest to the Stage 3 objectives and measures in 2017,” the agency said in a fact sheet.
The proposed rule also would allow EPs new to the program who intend to attest to Meaningful Use in 2017 and who will transition to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System to apply for “a significant hardship exception” from the 2018 payment adjustment.
Both CHIME and the American Hospital Association applauded the Meaningful Use provisions in the rule, with Chantal Worzala, vice president of health information and policy operations for the latter, saying in an emailed statement that her organization is “pleased that CMS has recognized” the burden caused by the EHR incentive program and is offering such flexibility.