AHA to Congress: HHS Should Slow Down "Aggressive" MU Timeline

The American Hospital Association has submitted a statement to the Senate Finance Committee advocating an extended timeline for meaningful use attestation due to a disparity in readiness among the nation's hospitals.  

"America's hospitals share the goals of Congress to realize the promise of health IT," reads the statement, though "implementation challenges remain for many hospitals, particularly small and rural hospitals." The letter cites recently published data showing that large, urban and teaching hospitals have far outpaced other hospitals in the adoption of electronic health records.

According to the letter, the Regional Extension Centers, established by Congress to aid small and rural providers in achieving meaningful use, have not made significant progress with hospitals because the $18,000 per-hospital funding limit is not enough to overcome steep financial obstacles.

The current meaningful use timeline is "aggressive," according to the letter, and will make 2014 a very challenging year for all hospitals. The beginning of meaningful use stage 2 is less than three months away, and currently "only 5.1 percent of all hospitals, and only 1 percent of rural hospitals, can currently meet a proxy for Stage 2," according to the letter.

"The AHA believes that the EHR incentive programs will have the best outcome if current regulations are realigned to ensure a safe, orderly transition to Stage 2 that leaves no one behind," according to the letter.

The AHA proposed five changes to the current meaningful use timeline that "could keep the program moving forward on a more reasonable pathway, and allow all providers to participate."

  • Allow providers at Stage 1 to meet the requirements using either the 2011 certified Edition EHR, or the 2014 certified Edition EHR.
  • Extend each stage of meaningful use to no less than three years for all providers.
  • Establish a 90-day reporting period for the first year of each new stage of meaningful use for all providers.
  • Offer greater flexibility to providers in meeting Stage 2.
  • Redirect the electronic clinical quality reporting requirements to focus on a small set of well-tested measures supported by a mature policy infrastructure that can guide valid and feasible measure development, testing and implementation.

More Articles on Meaningful Use Stage 2:

CIOs Call on CMS to Extend Meaningful Use Stage 2
California to Launch Immunization Messaging Portal to Aid in MU Attestation
Dr. Farzad Mostashari: EHR Interoperability Will Increase By MU Stage 2 

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