GOP Doctors Caucus pens letter to Paul Ryan asking for MU delay, hardship exceptions

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), the GOP Doctors Caucus pressed for a delay of meaningful use stage 3 and a blanket hardship waiver exception for meaningful use stage 2.

The caucus, comprised of 18 medical providers in Congress, expressed frustration that CMS finalized stage 2 and stage 3 of meaningful use in October even though there was pushback from the healthcare community and Congress.

"We believe a simultaneous implementation of more-stringent criteria…is likely to create a chilling effect on further EMR adoption as physicians conclude that the cost of implementation is simply not worth the bureaucratic hassle," according to the letter.

The letter indicates just 12 percent of physicians have met stage 2 requirements. According to ONC data from April, 54 percent of providers have demonstrated meaningful use of certified health IT, though the data does not indicate what stage these providers have reached.

Part of the proposed final rule for meaningful use stage 2 and stage 3 included a 90-day reporting period for stage 2. However, the final rule was released Oct. 6, , so there were fewer than 90 days remaining in the calendar year when CMS released the rule. The GOP Doctors Caucus asks for a blanket hardship exception for the stage 2 reporting period to mitigate this.

"Members of our caucus, as well as numerous congressional healthcare leaders, have engaged CMS on these issues to warn them of the potential negative consequences of placing these new requirements on providers in order to meet an arbitrary deadline," according to the letter. "CMS has ignored Congress. Congressional action is the only solution left for preserving patient access, choice and quality."

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