MGMA wants to delay MU Stage 2 penalties

Vendor readiness concerns about Meaningful Use Stage 2 are at the heart of a request by the Medical Group Management Association for a moratorium on penalties imposed on physicians who have successfully completed Stage 1 requirements.

In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday, MGMA President and CEO Susan Turney (pictured) points out that while there are more than 2,200 products and almost 1,400 "complete EHRs certified under the 2011 criteria for ambulatory eligible providers, there are only 75 products and 21 complete EHRs for Stage 2 criteria."

"This lack of vendor readiness has significant implications for EPs," Turney writes. "Without the appropriate software upgrades and timely vendor support, EPs will be unable to meet the Stage 2 requirements and thus will be unfairly penalized starting in 2015."

Turney adds that requiring providers to essentially "rip and replace" EHR systems implemented in Stage 1 to meet Stage 2 criteria is "unrealistic and unreasonable," and also says that the attention of many vendors has been diverted by looming ICD-10 challenges.

MGMA also calls for an extension for providers on the reporting period for Stage 2 incentives from 90 days to one year, as well as an extended reporting period for Stage 1 incentives for providers whose EHR has not been re-certified by January 2015 for the Stage 2 criteria.

MGMA is the latest in a long line of organizations and legislators to call for changes to Meaningful Use Stage 2. The American Academy of Family Physicians, in a letter to federal officials, call for a one-year extension to the time frame for compliance with Meaningful Use Stage 2, saying that the current time frame "will outstrip the capacity" of both vendors and family doctors. Hospital CIOs representing CHIME have expressed similar concerns, while Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in July called for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to pause and reassess the program.

To learn more:
- read the MGMA letter (.pdf)