CMS still accepting, processing Meaningful Use attestations during shutdown

The government shutdown has stalled many healthcare programs, but providers still can attest to Meaningful Use and earn their inactive payments, according to an article in MedPage Today.

"HealthIT incentive payments do not come from annual appropriations; our @CMSGov colleagues continue to receive attestations," former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari told Medpage Today via Twitter. Mostashari also clarified that not only can providers still attest, but that ONC will continue to process the payments.

The fact that the Meaningful Use program--like the Affordable Care Act--continues to operate during the shutdown is ironic, as both programs have come under heavy fire from House and Senate Republicans. The shutdown occurred because of the lawmakers' refusal to pass a spending bill that didn't defund the ACA; Republicans have repeatedly requested that the Meaningful Use program be paused and reassessed.

However, it is unknown how quickly the incentive payments will be processed. Only four ONC staffers out of 184 are working during the shutdown. The shutdown also has caused other activities related to the Meaningful Use program to be put on hold, including standards and interoperability framework activities, policy meetings, and certification testing for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, which is still slated to begin in 2014.

CMS has paid out almost $15.9 billion in Meaningful Use incentives since the program began in 2011. Participation in the Meaningful Use incentive program continues to increase, with the total of active registrations to 409,839 providers. 

To learn more:
- read the article