Physicians will have to attest to meeting Stage 2 meaningful use criteria for 90 days in 2015, officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Jan. 29.
Currently under the meaningful use program, physicians must attest that they met requirements for the entire year or be subject to a Medicare payment reduction. Low attestation numbers for 2015 suggested that many doctors would not be able to meet the full year requirement. Additionally, Congress has been looking at forcing the change by a legislative mandate.
The change, along with a few other program modifications, will be detailed in a proposed rule.
“The new rule, expected this spring, would be intended to be responsive to provider concerns about software implementation, information exchange readiness, and other related concerns in 2015,” Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Chief Medical Officer, said in a Jan. 29 blog post. The changes “would help to reduce the reporting burden on providers, while supporting the long term goals of the program.”
Physicians’ organizations applauded the proposed change.
The American Medical Association welcomes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement of plans to address some of the issues we have raised with the Meaningful Use program through rulemaking aimed at requirements for meeting Meaningful Use in 2015.
The American Medical Association is “eager to see the proposed rule as we have been working with CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, offering solutions to improve the incentive program for quite some time,” Dr. Steven J. Stack, AMA president-elect, said in a statement. “EHRs are intended to help physicians improve care for their patients, but unfortunately, today’s EHR certification standards and the stringent requirements of the Meaningful Use program do not support that goal and decrease efficiency.”
Dr. Patrick T. O’Gara, president of the American College of Cardilogy said, “We are pleased that CMS responded to feedback from the ACC and other health organizations and is considering shortening the 2015 reporting period to 90 days for electronic health records. He added that CMS should move quickly to disseminate information regarding the reporting timeline, so that physicians could successfully attest to Stage 2.
A separate rule on Stage 3 of meaningful use also will be published this year.
Read the full post on the CMS Blog.