Stage 2 attestation still discouraging; CHIME reiterates call for shortened MU reporting period

The attestation numbers for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program continue to disappoint, with only 3,655 eligible professionals and 164 eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals receiving payments for meeting the requirements through October 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' latest data.

The figures, presented at the Health IT Policy Committee's meeting Dec. 9, indicated that there were 505,641 active registrants in the Meaningful Use program, but the vast majority of attesters have attested to Stage 1. There has been an increase in Stage 2 attestations in the past two months; overall 16,455 eligible professionals and 1,681 eligible hospitals attested to Stage 2 through Dec. 1; however, that does not necessarily mean that they all have earned incentive payments.

Total payments, so far, to providers for meeting Meaningful Use in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs have hit $159,092,758.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), pointing out that only 4 percent of eligible professionals and less than 35 percent of eligible hospitals have met the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, quickly reiterated its concern about the upcoming 365 day reporting period for Meaningful Use in 2015, sending a "stern" call for change.

"It is imperative officials take immediate action to put this critical transformation program back on track," CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell said in a statement. "Shortening the time frame for MU reporting in 2015 will help to ensure the program delivers on its promise to advance the transformation of healthcare in this country."

CMS is aware of the challenges of meeting Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, softening the certification requirements for 2014 and extending the attestation deadline for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals for the 2014 reporting year from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. However, it has not yet softened the 365 day reporting requirement. 

Proposed legislation to shorten the reporting window, called the FLEX-IT Act, is still pending in Congress.

To learn more:
- check out the attestation data
- read CHIME's announcement