HIMSS: Full-year MU reporting requirement in 2015 'unrealistic'

HIMSS has joined a growing number of stakeholders decrying the federal government's Meaningful Use flexibility final rule requiring 365-day reporting using 2014 certification criteria in 2015.

In a letter dated Sept. 10 to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, with copies to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilynn Tavenner and National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, HIMSS states that it was "deeply concerned" with HHS' decision to require full-year reporting in 2015 using 2014 certification criteria rather than the three-month reporting period requested by many organizations during the comment period for the proposed rule, which was published in May.

HIMSS points out that the year-long requirement, which would start for hospitals in less than a month, was "unrealistic" and expresses concern that since many hospitals will not be able to comply, they not only will miss out on Meaningful Use incentives, but also will be subject to downward Medicare payment adjustments in 2017.

"We appreciate how extending the use of a three-month reporting period beyond 2014 challenges long-held expectations for the MU program," the letter states. "However, if a full-year of reporting is required for 2015, we fear that large segments of the provider community will no longer participate in the MU program."

The rule, published in the Federal Register Sept. 4, allows for some flexibility regarding which edition of certification criteria providers can use in 2014 but retained the requirement of 365-day reporting that CMS recommended in its proposed rule. Providers have been uniform in their concern that the rule isn't flexible enough to really help; CHIME has warned that this one provision now puts the future of Meaningful Use "in question."   

To learn more:
- read HIMSS' letter (.pdf)