Those who met Meaningful Use Stage 1 are now beginning to see the start of Meaningful Use Stage 2. Several senators, the AMA, and the AHA support concerns to lengthen transition period imposed by the HHS.
EMR software has taken the healthcare world by storm as it constantly evolves to match technological developments. It has proven to be a cost effective solution that could be revolutionary for eligible professionals and hospitals. In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was passed in order to encourage EMR implementation.
Those who could demonstrate Meaningful Use according to Stage 1 criteria received Medicare and Medicaid incentives. In order to continue receiving those incentives, providers who have met Stage 1 for at least 2 years must now proceed to Stage 2. Beginning October 1, 2013 for hospitals, and January 1, 2014 for eligible professionals, both must demonstrate 90 consecutive days of compliance with Stage 2 criteria within one year.
However, there’s concern that EHR systems may not be upgraded to the Stage 2 certified version of the software in time. For this reason, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has requested the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to extend the deadline by 6 months, asking for 18 months to achieve Meaningful Use rather than one year. The “extra 6 months is a brief amount of time when considering our ultimate and joint goal of successful implementation of health IT,” stated HIMSS Executive Vice President, Carla Smith, in a recent news release.
Last week, several senators, supported by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association (AHA), and others, wrote a letter to the HHS, concerned that the “regulatory structure of the program has created significant time pressure.” They’re requesting a one-year extension before demonstrating Stage 2 for providers who aren’t ready for the transition.
In order to meet Stage 2 criteria for Meaningful Use:
- Eligible professionals must meet 17 core objectives and 3 menu objectives that they select from a total list of 6
- Eligible hospitals and CAHs must meet 16 core objectives and 3 menu objectives that they select from a total list of 6
The list, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), describes mostly additions and revisions to core objectives from Stage 1. However, both EPs and eligible hospitals are given a new core objective that they must achieve, as well as a change in patient access objectives.
- Use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information
- Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available to the EP
- Automatically track medications from order to administration using assistive technologies in conjunction with an electronic medication administration record (eMAR)
- Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within 36 hours after discharge from the hospital
The full lists describing core objectives and menu objectives for EPs and eligible hospitals and CAHs can be found at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
Author: Apoorva Anupindi