JJ'Studio - Fotolia

CHIME urges Trump administration to pause stage 3 of meaningful use

CIO organization CHIME is calling on the President-elect to reduce the number of regulations on healthcare providers by delaying meaningful use stage 3.

Following a recent letter from the American Hospital Association to Donald Trump, the College of Health Information Management Executives is also requesting that the President-elect ease the regulatory burden on healthcare providers.

However, the CIO organization stopped short of supporting the American Hospital Association's (AHA) request for a cancellation of stage 3 of meaningful use.

The AHA submitted a letter to President-elect Donald Trump asserting that the number of regulations hospitals currently face is "substantial and unsustainable." To that end, AHA president and CEO Richard Pollack recommends the Trump administration cancel meaningful use stage 3 so that hospitals don't have to spend large amounts of money to upgrade their electronic health records (EHR) to meet regulatory requirements.

While CHIME agrees with the AHA that the new administration should modify or eliminate excessive regulations, Vice President of Congressional Affairs Leslie Krigstein said meaningful use has had a positive impact on EHR adoption.

"We have traditionally called for reasonable regulation and flexible requirements to match the needs of our members and their constituencies," she said. "Meaningful use has been a challenge at times, but certainly has spurred adoption in a way that may not have taken place had HITECH not come to fruition."

Krigstein said CHIME is not recommending that the new administration cancel stage 3 of meaningful use. Instead, it is maintaining its previous request that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not move forward with stage 3 of meaningful use prior to 2019.

"We've definitely expressed concerns about provider readiness, vendor readiness," she said. "And broadly, the current state of health IT as it relates to stage 3, we think it's just not quite where it needs to be for folks to be successful in stage 3."

CMS issued its final rule on meaningful use stage 3 on Oct. 6, 2015. It is currently optional for providers in 2017, but will be mandatory for all participants in 2018.

Krigstein said CHIME also agrees with the AHA's recommendations around EHR interoperability and improved standards. In his letter, Pollack asked the President-elect to continue to advance health IT by supporting the adoption of interoperable EHRs and promoting consistent standards.

"On the whole, we definitely agree with the importance of standards and interoperability because we have made such a significant investment, $35 billion in electronic health records, just from the federal government, not accounting for what the private sector has matched," Krigstein said.

"It's time that we actually make interoperability a reality, and we think that standards will be a huge component of that," she added.

CHIME also supports the AHA's recommendation to reduce policy barriers that impede reimbursement for and expanded access to telehealth and similar technologies.

"From our members' perspective, it's not technical barriers that often get in the way [of telehealth adoption], it is policy barriers," she said.

Next Steps

Meaningful use won't be replaced by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, just changed

Healthcare groups bullish on relaxed meaningful use stage 3 rules

CHIME CIO forum welcomes shorter meaningful use reporting period

Dig Deeper on HITECH Act and meaningful use requirements