Today marks the end of the public comment period for the proposed meaningful use criteria drafted late last year by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. It’s also the last day to comment on the interim final rule (IFR) for electronic health record (EHR) technology certification standards.
With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some noteworthy commentary on the meaningful use criteria and the EHR certification rule.
- The Health Information and Management Systems Society states it wants providers to receive “partial credit” for achieving meaningful use, and says they should not have to meet every single requirement all at once.
- The American Hospital Association expands on the partial credit idea, and stipulates that providers should be eligible if they meet 25% of the meaningful use requirements. The AHA also wants previously certified EHR technology to be grandfathered, and hospital-based professionals to be eligible. (The group’s website features the complete 81-page letter the AHA wrote to CMS.)
- The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives also supports the 25% requirement for achieving meaningful use and the grandfathering of existing EHR technology. In addition, CHIME proposes an extension of the meaningful use deadlines and “strongly recommend[s] the widespread use of a national patient identifier” to combat the slow growth of health information exchanges.
- The Medical Group Management Association, citing a member survey, fears that meeting meaningful use criteria will actually require a drop in productivity. MGMA also points out that many providers won’t be able to supply patients with electronic health information fast enough to satisfy meaningful use.
- As for EHR certification, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, which until recently was the lone certifying body for EHR technology, expresses concern with the IFR, especially with regard to EHR software features, interoperability and the definition of “complete EHR.”
- The American Health Information Management Association also worries that the IFR targets specific EHR features, not basic features. AHIMA also raises concerns about the extension of HIPAA accounting provisions, adherence to which it deems “a major challenge.”
The IFR has been in place for about a month, and meaningful use criteria should be made final this spring. That should pave the way for health care providers to begin ramping up their EHR implementation strategies and, if all goes well, to receive federal reimbursements before the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted.