Here at SearchHealthIT, we’re creating an office pool for when the final meaningful use stage 2 rule will drop.
National HIT policy leader and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, MD says it’s on track for August delivery. Vendor co-op Premier Healthcare Alliance affirmed its support for such a timetable in comments to CMS.
But that could be just wishful thinking during this presidential election season. Whether the election’s close or not – and why wouldn’t it be, considering the last three have been – will President Obama’s administration want to risk further attack on his health care policies on the campaign trail? Every move either candidate makes is deeply scrutinized by his foes, leading to silly gestures such as a judge forcing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to affirm that the administration recognizes the Supreme Court’s authority. While that particular incident didn’t involve meaningful use regulations, it was part of the legal challenge to Obama’s health reform law.
One would think that shenanigans like these would make any candidate – liberal, conservative or moderate – think twice about introducing new regulations into the debate stream.
My guess as to when meaningful use stage 2 will arrive? I’m torn. If Obama’s re-elected, I’d imagine the final rule will arrive sometime between Election Day and Thanksgiving. If he isn’t? Maybe never.
The president put pending regulations on hold for 60 days when he first took office, subjecting them to administrative review, and last year established new policies for vetting regulations. If Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, wins, you’d have to figure he’d put a similar freeze on pending regs.
Can you imagine a rookie president inserting himself into a politicized health IT debate featuring associations squared off against patient advocates like Regina Holliday picketing the American Hospital Association annual meeting? It’s difficult enough for us to follow, and we have seen most every episode of this reality show since the HITECH Act was enacted.
Forced to choose a date for the release of the final meaningful use stage 2 rule – and the office pool’s rules dictate that players must choose a single date – I’ll take Nov. 16. After all, documents seem to drop on Fridays a lot, and I’m 60-40 sure (subject to change, day by day, between now and November) Obama will be re-elected. But I’m not a handicapper for a living, so if you’re really interested in betting, call your local bookie to find out what the wiseguys are saying.
I hope Halamka’s prediction of August delivery turns out to be right, and this blog post’s a bunch of conjecture. But thinking about how the proposed rule finally saw the light of day, it’s safe to say that nothing ever goes as planned. A hell of a notion, as Styx once put it.
Do you want in? Put in your two cents’ worth – and your best guess for a date – in the comments section below.