EHRA: Proposed MU flexibility rule not flexible enough

Another big stakeholder has called for swift issuance of a final rule with fewer restrictions than proposed for attesting to Meaningful Use in 2014.

HIMSS' Electronic Health Records Association (EHRA) is stressing the need to eliminate "wasted time and effort." In its comment letter on the proposed rule to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the EHRA warns that providers need "speedy and clear information" in order to determine how to attest this year.   

"[D]ue to time constraints, we anticipate that many physicians and hospitals will make decisions based on the proposed rule, as seems to have been your intent," the letter states. "We urge that these already-made decisions be considered as you finalize this rule, and that no changes be made in the final rule that would prove problematic for those who acted in good faith based on the proposed rule."

The EHRA asks the agencies to ease restrictions in the rule, allowing for greater attestation flexibility for "timing related challenges." It also asks for "explicit clarification" that the agencies understand that "many scenarios could challenge a provider relative to Stage 2 timing.

"We similarly urge that this direction be given to CMS and state Medicaid auditors used for the EHR incentive program," the letter reads.

The association also recommends that the rule allow more options of the objectives and measures to be used, not just the ones listed in the proposed rule, and that clinical quality measures be de-linked so long as they're supported by the certified EHR technology being used for reporting.

Additionally, the EHRA suggests that the agencies revisit the timeline for Stage 3 of the incentive program in order to avoid some of the same challenges being faced in implementing Stage 2.

Other stakeholders have shared EHRA's concerns about the late timing of the proposed rule and the need to finalize it quickly. It has been speculated that the agencies plan on finalizing it without making substantive changes, as they've already published a tool for providers to determine how to attest this year. 

The proposed rule providing for some flexibility was issued in May.

To learn more:
- read the comment letter (.pdf)
- view all of the comments