The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, concerned that providers may struggle to meet the more stringent requirements of Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, has released recommendations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help the agency maximize the number of successful attesters this year.
In a letter sent this week to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Scott MacLean--chair of the HIMSS board of directors--and H. Stephen Lieber--HIMSS president and CEO--noted that the organization was "committed" to helping the industry moving forward with interoperability and "healthcare transformation" but that providers may run into several obstacles in the near term.
"The timeline for Meaningful Use Stage 2 implementation remains a major topic of discussion," MacLean and Lieber said. "While we know that many eligible professionals and eligible hospitals are ready for the next Meaningful Use stage, we also acknowledge that EPs and EHs are increasingly citing timeline and implementation challenges in preparation for Stage 2."
HIMSS' recommendations include:
- Extend Year 1 of Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation through April 2015 for eligible hospitals and through June 2015 for eligible professionals
- Accept and process hardship exception applications before the final filing deadline to give providers at "better sense" of what would qualify
- Establish the agency as the "single source of truth" on program requirements, such as providing more listening sessions and guidance
- Simplify clinical quality measure requirements until standards and processes can support "robust" electronic reporting
- Launch association collaboration to "translate" program requirements and make them easier to understand
Stakeholders and others have expressed concern that Stages 2 and 3 of the program are too ambitious and have recommended a myriad of changes. It appears that Stage 3 may already be softened; the Health IT Policy Committee has recommended fewer objectives than it originally had proposed.