Provider organizations: 4 recommendations to improve Meaningful Use

The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, concerned that Meaningful Use requirements are "overly burdensome," make four recommendations to improve the program for providers in a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this week. 

Among the recommendations, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock and AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara call for:

  • Providers at Stage 1 to meet the Meaningful Use requirements [for transitioning to Stage 2] using either the 2011 certified Edition EHR or the 2014 certified Edition EHR, which they say will give vendors more time to complete their upgrades
  • The establishment of a 90-day reporting period for the first year of each new stage of Meaningful Use
  • Greater flexibility for providers in meeting Stage 2
  • An extension of each stage of Meaningful use to no less than three years for all providers

"Our members and the vendors they work with report growing concerns that the rapidly approaching start date for Stage 2 is on a trajectory that will not provide enough time or adequate flexibility for a safe and orderly transition unless certain changes are made," the letter says. "In addition to the time issues … the Stage 2 rules are tremendously complex and include entirely new requirements … or expand on requirements that were a significant challenge in Stage 1."

The organizations' concerns echo those of several others who also spoke about the program this week. For instance, four hospital CIOs representing the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives talked about their implementation frustrations in front of the Health IT Policy and Standards committees on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

"The biggest issue … is that we just don't have enough time to implement and exercise the 2014 certified software," said Pamela McNutt, senior vice president CIO at Dallas-based Methodist Health System. "All of the objectives listed as challenges require significant work to implement after upgrading."

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