ONC: Meaningful Use Stage 2 delay not likely

Changes to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use are unlikely, according to Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Office of Policy Planning. Daniel was responding to a question from an attendee at a town hall-style session at the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Healthcare IT News reported.

"We are very focused on making Stage 2 work," Daniel (right) said at the session with ONC leadership. A delay would be up to CMS, not ONC, Daniel said--CMS wrote the rules for and administers Meaningful Use.

"They would have the authority to do that, but it would require a regulatory change," Daniel said. She also noted that changes would take a year or more to implement, making them even more unlikely.

Acting national health coordinator for health IT Jacob Reider, M.D., who led the discussion, said ONC is especially concerned about reaching independent community hospitals and small physician practices outside of the Washington, D.C. bubble.

Reider discussed what he called ONC's "5+1 guiding principles," according to Healthcare IT News: open, transparent inclusive decision-making; "eye on the prize" (the triple aim); "feet on the ground" (realism); fostering market innovation; being open to all, including the "little folks;" and "putting patients and their interests at the center of all activities."

With regard to patient data privacy, Joy Pritts, ONC chief privacy officer said during the discussion that ONC has been working with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office for Civil Rights--which enforces HIPAA privacy and security rules--to develop a free security risk assessment tool for small providers.

"It's a bit of a challenge because this is a legal thing that you have to do," Pritts said, according to the article, who added that the resource should be out sometime in 2014.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and others have called for a one-year extension to the deadline of the second stage of the federal incentive program. Earlier this year, CHIME also called the proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3 thresholds from ONC's Health IT Policy Committee "unrealistic," and asked that ONC reconsider the speed and scale of meeting Stage 3 by 2016.

Former National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, speaking to hospital CIOs at the CHIME annual CIO forum last month, also told executives that they shouldn't count on a delay of Meaningful Use Stage 2.

To learn more:
- read the article in Healthcare IT News

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