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Healthcare groups call for 90-day meaningful use reporting period

In a familiar refrain, a coalition of 34 healthcare organizations — including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) — has called on CMS to “act quickly” and adopt a 90-day meaningful use reporting period for 2016.

In a release, CHIME, which has been among the most vocal of the groups over the past year in advocating for a shortened reporting period, said providers are waiting for changes to meaningful use embodied in the new MACRA healthcare law (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015).

In the meantime, the meaningful use program still calls for a 365-day reporting period, a requirement that CHIME Board Chairman Marc Probst, vice president and CIO of Intermountain Healthcare, and CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell said is onerous.

“Maintaining a 365-day reporting period also will force providers to pull resources away from using health IT to innovate care processes and workflows,” Probst and Branzell said in the release. “Additionally, it will limit the amount of time providers and vendors could spend on improving interoperability and information exchange.”

In a letter to CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt, the groups — mostly medical speciality associations — said the change they are asking for is equivalent to the 90-day period in the modified stage 2 final rule that was adopted last year.

They said that while they welcomed the “relief” last year, they are still struggling with “complex system upgrades” for the 2016 program year, and going back to a 90-day reporting time frame will allow providers to continue adapting their health IT systems to new payment and care delivery models.

Those new approaches revolve around value- and merit-based reimbursement, many of the details of which still need to be worked out in regulations for MACRA.

Also, the signatories said moving on their request relatively early in the year would reduce the need for provider organizations to file for hardship exceptions.