HHS Delays Stage 2 Meaningful Use Compliance for Early Adopters

| December 8, 2011

Courtesy of CAP Statline

Earlier this week HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that hospitals and eligible providers who attested to Stage 1 of the agency’s “Meaningful Use” EHR incentive program in 2011 would not have to meet Stage 2 criteria until 2014, rather than 2013. The delay is to allow faster and easier adoption of health information (IT) criteria outlined in Stage 2.

This delay was first proposed in March by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s HIT Policy Committee’s workgroup on Meaningful Use.

CAP’s Advocacy efforts related to Meaningful Use can be found on the “Comments to Regulatory Agencies” Web site under “Health Information Technology.” For more information on the CMS Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program, visit the agency’s Web site.

CAP Concerns

The CAP continues to be concerned about numerous aspects of the Meaningful Use program, as outlined in Stage 2 criteria comments submitted over the summer. Specifically, because the rule is targeted toward office-based physicians—especially primary care providers—pathologists will face penalties for mandates that they cannot comply with for a number of reasons, including their scope-of-practice, typical interactions with patients (not usually face-to-face), and their use of laboratory information systems instead of certified EHRs.

The College is addressing some of these concerns through the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) HIT Policy Committee’s Meaningful Use Workgroup Specialty Subgroup. At a recent hearing, the Subgroup appeared to be inclined to recommend that ONC and/or CMS deal with specialists’ challenges, such as certain certification issues, either through exemptions or other means. Looking ahead, the group also indicated that for proposed Stage 3 criteria, it may recommend a requirement that test results are sent back to the referring physician. This specialist subgroup is planning on moving these and other recommendations to the larger Meaningful Use Workgroup for consideration. All positive developments to be sure, although the ONC and CMS have ultimate authority for the program.

 


Category: Pathology News

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