Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestations still lackluster, CMS says

While the majority of eligible hospitals (EHs) and eligible professionals (EPs) have attested to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, only 447 EPs and eight EHs have attested to Stage 2 in 2014, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported at the June 10 Health IT Policy Committee meeting.

At the meeting, Elisabeth Myers, policy and outreach lead at the CMS Office of eHealth Standards and Services, reported that 91 percent of EHs had received an incentive payment, and 59 percent of EPs had attested to Stage 1. EPs were much more likely to attest if they were certified as a patient centered medical home or had help from a regional extension center.  

Overall more than $24 billion in incentive payments have been made, according to Myers.

Interestingly, of those EPs who first attested to Meaningful Use in 2011, 44 percent skipped attestation in 2012 and returned in 2013, and 9 percent skipped both 2012 and 2013. The highest percentage of providers that skipped both 2012 and 2013 by provider type were those in behavioral health.  

Myers also noted that the deadline to comment on a proposed rule from CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT that would provide more flexibility in the certification standards required for attesting in Stage 2 is July 21. The proposed rule also formalizes the agencies' intention to extend Stage 2 to 2016 and to begin Stage 3 in 2017.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality informed the committee that to attain interoperability, the software architecture needed to be improved. It recommended that ONC define such a software architecture within the next 12 months.

In addition, the committee's privacy and security "tiger team" delivered as promised its recommendations on data segmentation for the electronic sharing of behavioral health information. The recommendations urge the creation of a four-level "glide path" that would include additional pilots and guidance, and suggested that voluntary EHR certification requirements for behavioral health be established for Stage 3. The committee approved the tiger team's recommendations.

To learn more:
- here are all of the meeting materials
- check out CMS' statistics
- read through AHRQ's presentation

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