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Meaningful Use Stage 2 Deadline Extended

November 30, 2011 News 3 Comments

Under a news release headline of “We can’t wait: Obama Administration takes new steps to encourage doctors and hospitals to use health information technology to lower costs, improve quality, create jobs” HHS announced today that providers starting participation in the Medicare EHR incentive programs in 2011 will not be required to meet Stage 2 standards until 2014, a year later than was originally announced.

The previous timetable allowed providers to sit out a year and begin participation in 2012, thereby automatically extended their own Stage 2 deadline until 2014.

The announcement includes an HHS reminder that “doctors who act quickly” (by February 29, 2012, according to previously published dates) can still qualify for 2011 incentive payments.

The announcement also cites a new CDC study that found that 52% of office-based physicians plan to seek HITECH money, with 34% of practices now using electronic records software with at least “basic” capability.

From the announcement:

HHS also announced its intent to make it easier to adopt health IT. Under the current requirements, eligible doctors and hospitals that begin participating in the Medicare EHR (electronic health record) Incentive Programs this year would have to meet new standards for the program in 2013.  If they did not participate in the program until 2012, they could wait to meet these new standards until 2014 and still be eligible for the same incentive payment. To encourage faster adoption, the Secretary announced that HHS intends to allow doctors and hospitals to adopt health IT this year, without meeting the new standards until 2014. Doctors who act quickly can also qualify for incentive payments in 2011 as well as 2012.

These policy changes are accompanied by greater outreach efforts that will provide more information to doctors and hospitals about best practices and to vendors whose products allow health care providers to meaningfully use EHRs. For example, in communities across the country HHS will target outreach, education and training to Medicare eligible professionals that have registered in the EHR incentive program but have not yet met the requirements for meaningful use. Meaningful use is the necessary foundation for all impending payment changes involving patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, bundled payments, and value-based purchasing.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. >>> The announcement also cites a new CDC study that found that 52% of office-based physicians plan to seek HITECH money, with 34% of practices now using electronic records software with at least “basic” capability.

    The 52% number doesn’t mean anything- 90% of those that “plan” to do HITECH, once they realize how onerous the rules and regs are will stop trying to achieve the lofty HITECH goals. Throw in the fact that there is a 50% deinstallation rate for complicated EHR systems.

    Obviously the HHS has not fully ingested the full amazing findings of the CDC report. If they would have actually read the CDC report without their clouded political biases, the main growth came from the “basic” EMR group which by certification standard are NOT HITECH ready (25% to 34%). The HITECH ready EHR group percentage actually DROPPED from 26% to 23% over the past year. Now THAT is an amazing story, which means that by the CDC’s data, “meaningful use” is actually dying with the initial descent of the growth of the EHR market.

    Is the EHR market bubble beginning to bust? Probably- big government involvement is bad for most industries outside of the military. An EHR software dog with a poor interface is still a dog, no matter how much tax money you waste on it. It’s a shame that this money didn’t go to free clinics and to help treat the poor. What a waste.

  2. Though I haven’t read the report, a “drop” from 26 to 23 percent is probably statistically meaningless and within margin of error.

    A sign that meaningful use is “dying”? Doubtful. An “amazing story”? Certainly not. At best, it shows no progress in the past year.

  3. Now why would you say that without reading the report? This is taken from their paper:

    “The preliminary 2010 and 2011 estimates are from the NAMCS mail surveys, with a sample of 10,301 physicians selected in each year. Nonrespondents to the mail survey received follow-up telephone calls. The 2010 mail survey was conducted from April through July 2010, and the 2011 mail survey was conducted from February through June 2011. The unweighted response rates of the 2010 and 2011 mail surveys were 68% (66% weighted) and 64% (61% weighted), respectively. Copies of the 2010 and 2011 surveys are available from the NCHS website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ahcd/ahcd_survey_instruments.htm#namcs.”

    URL for the original article: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db79.pdf

    Now, for those of you, like Zafirex, who actually **like** the concept of meaningful use, now read this and weep: not only has the EHR use decreased (as I mentioned in my note), but I recently read that of the 115,000 registered “meaningful use providers”, only 10,155 (9%), have successfully attested.

    These “providers” include:
    •Doctor of medicine or osteopathy
    •Doctor of podiatry
    •”Other”

    The percent of actual physicians and podiatrists in clinical practice (~600000) attesting is about 1.5%. This is a really, really, really bad thing and is why the CMS folks have had to push the “meaningful use” schedule back a year.

    If President Obama starts to implement the penalties for nonparticipation on over 98% of physician/podiatry providers, I see a riot brewing.

    This topic is red hot and I have not seen it discussed anywhere else, yet it is extremely important to physicians trying to survive the Medicare program. CMS/Medicare is trying to make it look like all physicians can’t wait to attest, and are doing so, which is NOT TRUE.

    URL: https://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/Downloads/Monthly_Payment_Registration_Report_Sep.pdf

    No excuse now. It’s all there… there is a decrease in EHR use and a faltering “meaningful use” Obama mandate. It’s a “cash for klunkers” all over again. A waste of our tax dollars and a waste of physician time. The main people that will suffer are patients whose care quality will decrease and costs increase. Tsk tsk… It’ll be interesting when the EHR bubble will burst on Wall Street. That’s next.







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