Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

CMS talks freshly proposed changes to MU2

'There are some things that we can do now to help better align the milestones we've already reached'
By Henry Powderly
02:48 PM
close up on doctor using laptop

Change is coming to Stage 2 Meaningful Use, officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday, as a new rule aims to cut back on redundancies and solve a few headaches healthcare providers have expressed over the program.

CMS unveiled the rule on Friday afternoon, which meant many in attendance at the HIMSS Annual Conference in Chicago hadn’t had much time to digest the proposal.

Most notably, the rule changes the reporting for first-time enrollees from one year to any 90-day period. In the second year, participants would have to report for a full calendar year. It also aligns the reporting period with the calendar year, and not the fiscal year.

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If approved, the changes would apply to 2015.

“There are some things that we can do now to help better align the milestones we’ve already reached,” said Elizabeth Myers, policy and outreach lead in the CMS Division of Health Information Technology. “Providers are already maxing out on some of these measures that are essentially automated and their EHR is so strongly supporting.”

The rule also changes the requirement that providers show 5 percent of patients initiate electronic access, like viewing their records, to just one patient. These types of patient action measures have been the biggest concern for providers, and the source of the most feedback to the CMS, Myers said. Some providers are easily hitting that, showing as much as 50 percent participation. But others struggle to show even 5 percent.

“That disparity tells us there is something going on with this measure and it may not be quite ready for prime time,” she said.

If the proposal is passed, providers in 2015 would have to attest to this modified version of Stage 2.

According to Myers, the change would not mandate any technological upgrades for participants.

“You don’t have to get recertified. You don’t have to get a new product,” she said. “All software that is certified to 2014 is fine, it will work for all of these,” she said.

The comment period on the rule is currently open, and Myers encouraged attendees to read through the 210-page rule and file any feedback with the government agency.