HIT Policy Committee questions Stage 2 measures

Meaningful use requirements could be too much

WASHINGTON – As members of the HIT Policy Committee debated the proposed Stage 2 meaningful use regulations on April 4, many expressed concerns that the rules would require eligible providers to collect data for too many measures.

That burden poses problems from the start, said some committee members, noting that the cost of $10,000 per measure for physician practices to have their certified electronic health record systems updated makes the 120 proposed new measures unreasonable.

There was also concern that the measures are being collected, but won’t be used by the federal government for some time, if at all, to improve public health.

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Committee Chair Farzad Mostashari, MD, agreed. Collecting data that’s not going to be used seems pointless, he said. The federal government needs to connect data collection with the elimination of disparities to show providers “why we’re doing it,” he said.

Paul Tang, chair of the Meaningful Use Workgroup, said Wednesday’s discussion of the proposal was only a start. The workgroup would consider feedback from the entire committee and return with updated recommendations for the group’s approval at the HIT Policy meeting on May 2. The group’s approved recommendations were due to Mostashari by May 7, Tang said.

The proposed meaningful use Stage 2 rule was released Feb. 23, with the comment period closing in May. The government is expected to release a final rule this summer. The meaningful use rules are used to qualify eligible Medicare and Medicaid providers for federal incentives for electronic health record adoption.