Vendor group urges action on MU rule

Calls for no changes that could pose problems to stakeholders
By Bernie Monegain
10:46 AM
computers and code

The EHR Association, which is made up of nearly 40 EHR companies, urged the Office of the National Coordinator and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide the meaningful use final rule ASAP.

"We emphasize the priority of a quickly issued final rule in eliminating wasted time and effort regarding 2014 work, and urge publication as soon as possible," it wrote. "We note that, due to time constraints, we anticipate that many physicians and hospitals will make decisions based on the proposed rule, as seems to have been your intent. We urge that these already-made decisions be considered as you finalize this rule, and that no changes be made in the final rule that would prove problematic for those who acted in good faith based on the proposed rule."

The EHRA is also looking ahead, and it asked the agencies take a close look at the timeline for Stage 3 meaningful use.

"We are concerned … that the proposal for the Stage 3 timeline presents many of the same challenges as were encountered in Stage 2," the association wrote in its July 10 letter to the agencies, adding that the group had consistently given feedback that 18 months is required after all rules, specifications, test procedures, test tools, test data, implementation guides, etc., are final and available, for EHR vendors to make safe changes and distribute them to their customers.

"These targets were not achieved in Stage 2 timelines and contributed to the challenges intended to be alleviated by this flexibility proposal," the association stated in the letter signed by EHRA executives.

"Given the current situation of the industry, we suggest finalizing Stage 3 as beginning no earlier than 2018," they emphasized in bold type.

As EHRA sees it, future meaningful use timelines "must enable the HIT Policy Committee, CMS, and ONC to learn from the experience in one stage and have that inform the next stage."

"On balance, considering these factors, we urge that any timeline changes, whether they are to the date Stage 3 starts or to the reporting periods for any future year (such as shortened reporting periods in 2015, 2017, or 2018) be made public as soon as possible so that the information can be used for advanced planning," EHRA urged. "Being able to rely on clear and consistent signals will be key to future success with this program."

Access the letter in its entirety here.

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