Provider, tech groups ask Price to delay Stage 3 MU implementation 'indefinitely'

Sixteen healthcare associations, including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, have asked Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to delay Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements "indefinitely."

In a letter (PDF) sent to Price on Feb. 17, the organizations emphasized the importance of reducing regulatory burdens for physicians while “ensuring patients benefit from the best technology has to offer and that the goal of a truly interoperable healthcare system comes to fruition.”

The letter was signed by a range of specialty organizations representing dermatologists, neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, general surgeons and America’s Essential Hospitals.

But the groups made a specific request that the government indefinitely delay Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program along with any similar requirements in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The letter also requested that Price exempt providers from complying with the latest requirements for Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).

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“Our members are very concerned with the unrealistic timeframe and the difficult-to-meet requirements laid out in Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program, as well as with the related requirements under MIPS,” the letter states. “Providers are still acclimating to Modified Stage 2 measures and transitioning to the MIPS program, and we believe more time is needed at this stage to offer stability to the clinicians using the technology and to enable innovation in the marketplace.”

In a separate policy letter (PDF), CHIME called on Price to treat 2018 as well as 2017 as transition years for MIPS. Price has said he supports interoperability, but wants to reduce the regulatory burden of MU reporting on physicians.

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The associations’ letter further noted that just 56% of EHRs have been certified under the 2015 edition of certification requirements and “it is extremely unlikely” that vendors will be able to meet those requirements by the January 1, 2018 deadline.

The groups also urged Price to make changes to reporting requirements for electronic clinical quality measures (eCQM), indicating most providers don’t have the capability to report eCQMs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently issued a two-week deadline extension for eCQM reporting and MU attestation.