To reach MU2, some vendors perform better than others

When it comes to successfully attesting to meaningful use stage 2, it appears that not all vendors are created equal.

A Politico report highlighting data from data journalism group found just three out of 20 top EHR vendors whose clients received the most meaningful use payments were able to attain meaningful use stage 2 in 2014 without using CMS' flexibility rule: Epic, athenahealth and Modernizing Medicine.

The flexibility rule was finalized in September 2014, and it allowed providers to use 2011 certified EHR technology to attest to meaningful use if they were unable to implement 2014 CEHRT in time for attestation. Such providers could also attest to stage 1 using the flexibility rule.

The majority of vendors had between 5 percent and 15 percent of the clients utilize the flexibility rule, but three vendors' clients used the flexibility rule "at particularly high rates," according to the report. Approximately two-thirds of GE Healthcare' clients used the flexibility rule to receive payments, as did 31 percent of NextGen clients and 47 percent of Greenway clients.

Representatives from NextGen and GE told Politico they have no real qualms with the number of clients making use of the flex rule.

"I don't have any real quibbles with what the numbers are saying," Greg Fulton, director of industry and government affairs at Greenway, told Politico. "The language in the flex rule was pretty open-ended. If they didn't attest, they could just say, 'I couldn't.'"

GE's Mark Segal, vice president for government and industry affairs, told Politico, "Given the complexity of doing full implementations as defined by CMS, many customers felt they needed to take advantage of the flex rule, and we supported them in this option." Mr. Segal said GE had rolled out a product upgrade which, though launched on time, may have added another layer to the attestation process.

The report suggests cloud-based platforms tended to successfully attest to meaningful use stage 2 without the flexibility rules, naming vendors such as NexTech, Practice Fusion, Evident and eClinicalWorks, which all had 94 percent or more of their clients attest sans flexibility rule.

More articles on EHRs:

EHR implementation: Keeping million-dollar projects from bleeding beyond the budget
CMS permits hardship exception for providers switching EHRs
More than 25% of House members sign request to delay MU Stage 3

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