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With the potential that stage 2 meaningful use measures may undergo revisions in response to industry pressure, it's interesting to look back at the latest round of statistics to see what percentages of hospitals and eligible professionals were ready for stage 2.
The data curated by the ONC and CMS pinpointed that, as of November 2014, 56% of all hospitals eligible for the meaningful use program were qualified for meaningful use stage 2, compared to only 42% of eligible professionals (EPs) at the same point in time.
There was also proof that most of the hospitals eligible for stage 2 were prepared before December. Through last November, more than three-quarters (77%) of stage 2-eligible hospitals had attested for the 2014 reporting. These numbers could be taken as a sign that the monthlong extension provided by CMS was needed and taken advantage of by some providers.
Turning to EPs, nearly 60% of those that attested to meaningful use in 2014 did so to stage 2 of the program -- ahead of the Feb. 28 deadline for the 2014 reporting period. The figures from CMS and ONC also showed that historically, a portion of EPs and eligible hospitals didn't submit their attestation documentation until after the close of the fiscal or calendar year.
As for any physicians and hospitals that have not attested and don't plan on participating in either of the two meaningful use stages, CMS will continue to impose a 1% reduction in their Medicare reimbursement payments. EPs and hospitals can avoid that penalty if they apply for and receive a meaningful use hardship exception.
CMS announced in January that it intends to relax its meaningful use reporting period to 90 days for stage 2 in 2015, a move that industry groups such as the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the American Medical Association pushed hard for.
Specifically, CMS proposed to update its Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to accomplish the following goals:
- Adjust hospital EHR reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to install and implement 2014 edition software.
- Modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity and lessen provider reporting burdens.
- Shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate these changes.
Once published, the proposal will go through a public comment period.
Representatives from CMS and ONC presented the meaningful use stage 2 statistics at a gathering of the Health IT Policy Committee in January.
About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development with Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.
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