MGMA: Meaningful Use program overreaching, runs the 'risk of failure'

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) has added its voice to the commenters on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's proposed rule relaxing the Meaningful Use rules in 2014, supporting the increased flexibility in reporting but warning that without "significant" modifications, the program itself "runs the risk of failure."

In a 20 page comment letter, MGMA requested that the proposed flexibility be expanded. CMS, it said, should allow a 90 day reporting period rather than a full year in 2015 as well as in 2014. MGMA also said the agency should broaden the definition of what it means to be unable to "fully implement" 2014 certified EHR technology, and extend the reporting flexibility being offered to providers in the Medicare incentive program to eligible professionals participating in the Medicaid incentive program.

MGMA made numerous recommendations to change the program itself, stating that "growing government overreach" has provided a regulatory environment "clearly contrary" to the intent of the original statute creating the Meaningful Use program. The association also noted that Stage 2's requirements went "well beyond legislative intent." It suggested that several changes to the Stage 2 objectives and measurements be made, and that some be moved from core to menu objectives.

What's more, the agency pointed out that some of CMS' provider resources are outdated and incorrect, and that the FAQs sometimes conflict with information from CMS' help desk. MGMA additionally recommended that the agency reopen the hardship application exception website for a period of time after the final rule is issued, and that it "aggressively and comprehensively" monitor the vendor industry.

The comments mirror those of several other organizations, applauding the flexibility but fearing that it was still too restrictive.

To learn more:
- read MGMA's comment letter (.pdf)