MU panel considers EMR Stage 2 delay

In a discussion earlier this week, the Health IT Policy Committee's Meaningful Use (MU) work group discussed whether it would make sense to delay by one year--until 2014--the beginning of Stage 2 of the MU program.

The panel viewed this option as a way to give vendors and healthcare providers additional time to update and create more advanced technology, Government Health IT reports. The final rule for Stage 2 was anticipated to be released by the middle of next year--permitting it to start in 2013.

Delaying the timeline, though, would come at the expense of early adopters--those healthcare providers who will have met MU in 2011.

It would be a compromise, said Paul Tang, MD, the work group's chair and chief medical information officer at the Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation. Because of the way the rule is written, those who are early adopters would be subject to a loss of one year's incentive, Government Health IT reports.

However, since the option would give other providers a third year to qualify for stage 1 MU incentives--instead of two years--it could potentially encourage more providers to participate since they would have more time, he said.

The work group also discussed keeping the current Stage 2 timeline, but shortening the reporting period for MU to 90 days--rather than one year.

For more details:
- see the Government Health IT article