The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), concerned that the rule altering the Meaningful Use Program has been "significantly delayed," has asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow medical groups to report for 2015 in either 2015 or into the first 90 days of 2016.
In a statement dated Sept. 1, MGMA warns that because the rule meant to soften some of the requirements of the Meaningful Use program for 2015 through 2017 has not yet been finalized, providers have been left confused about their obligations and will not have sufficient time to transition their software and workflow to comply.
"Even if the final rule came out today, the window of time that CMS is leaving medical groups and vendors to adjust workflows and update systems is both unacceptable and unrealistic," MGMA President and CEO Halee Fischer-Wright said. "Forcing groups and their EHR vendor partners to scramble in a short period of time to meet the Oct. 3 start date for the last reporting period essentially guarantees that a significant number of program participants will fail in 2015. Adding to this challenge is the fact that the industry is facing the transition to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, yet another demanding government initiative."
The proposed modifications would shorten the reporting period for 2015 from a full year to 90 days, and soften other requirements, such as the number of patients who would have to view, download or transmit their electronic health information. According to MGMA, the proposed rule was meant to "reenergize" the program in response to declining provider participation and success rates.
"Providing this flexibility will permit groups additional time to upgrade their EHRs to the revised Stage 2 specifications and test these systems to ensure that they are able to conform to program requirements while meeting the practical needs of clinicians and their patients," Fischer-Wright said. "An extension of the 2015 reporting year is absolutely vital to continued program success."
While the proposed rule has been met with mixed reviews, providers had been in favor of the proposed shortened reporting requirement. A coalition of vendors, providers and others sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in July urging CMS to confirm the proposed 90 reporting period and clarify the other changes.
The proposed rule was released in April. Comments were due June 15.
To learn more:
- read the statement