Proposed Meaningful Use alterations receive mixed reviews

There has been some support for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposed rule softening some of the requirements of the Meaningful Use program for 2015 through 2017, but commenters have also raised a number of concerns about it.

For instance, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) supports the modifications and urges CMS to finalize the rule "as quickly as possible," but also was "very disappointed" that the rule was not released as an interim final rule, which would have "significantly reduced industry confusion and provided eligible professionals (EPs) and their vendor partners much needed additional time." 

The American Hospital Association echoed these concerns early, saying that the rule provides "much needed relief" but that the multitude of additional program changes creates confusion and added burdens on providers.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's comments take a more balanced approach, supporting much of the proposed rule, as well as suggesting there be an increased focus on outcomes over process and a phased-in approach for patient electronic access and secure measures. HIMSS also recommends that CMS address the tight timelines between the issuance of the final rule and the looming end of 2015.

In contrast, the Consumer Partnership for eHealth and Consumer-Purchaser Alliance--comprised of 50 different patient, labor and related  organizations--expressed dismay at the watering down of the original requirement that 5 percent of patients view, download or transmit their electronic health information  or securely message their providers, saying that the 5 percent is "more than attainable"  and calling it a "dramatic retreat" from making patients and caregivers true partners in improving health.

The rule, published in the Federal Register in April, would grant providers additional flexibility in meeting Stages 1 and 2 of the program, such as shortening the reporting period for 2015 from one year to 90 days. The rule also makes changes to align Stages 1 and 2 to CMS' proposed vision for Stage 3 of the program. Comments on the rule were due June 15.

To learn more:
- read MGMA's comments (.pdf)
- check out the Consumer Partnership Coalition's comments (.pdf)
- here are HIMSS' comments (.pdf)