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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Meaningful Use Stage 2 now fully underway

Well, here we go. Lock and load. If you've spent two or more years in Stage 1, you will now commence with Stage 2 for two years. It shouldn't be all that difficult for you. 

Stage 3 has been pushed back one year, btw.

Click here for the full CMS Stage 2 Guide (pdf).

Saw this over at while on holiday vacation.
Concern Grows About Doctor Offices Opting Out of Meaningful Use
Monday, December 23, 2013

Health IT experts say they are concerned that more physician offices will opt out of the meaningful use program, despite the federal government's planned changes to the program's timeline, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 12/21)...

According to Modern Healthcare, the penalties for failing to meet Stage 2 requirements of the meaningful use program are minimal, while most of the incentive payments linked to achieving Stage 1 of the program already have been doled out. As a result, there are not significant financial benefits from continuing to participate in the program, according to Modern Healthcare.

Meanwhile, more physicians say they believe that meeting meaningful use program criteria will not result in patient benefits that offset the costs and efforts to achieve such requirements.

Jason Mitchell, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Health IT, said that for an average family physician who receives about $100,000 annually in Medicare reimbursements, failing to meet Stage 2 of the meaningful use program in 2014 would cost only about $1,000 in penalties in 2015. The penalties increase to 2% of Medicare reimbursements in 2016 and 3% in 2017, bringing the average family physician's combined three-year penalty to just $6,000.

Mitchell said, "We saw a 17% drop off of meaningful users that engaged in 2011 but didn't in 2012," adding, "I think it's going to be more for 2013" (Modern Healthcare, 12/21).
Probably take a good bit of practice-specific Excel sheet work to model out just where the net wash will be for any one organization -- the cost of upgrades, the workflow revisions, consulting assistance, the very real administrative costs of compliance. Moreover, if you're just getting started in 2014 (Stage 1), your total incentive money potential is significantly reduced.

The relatively easy money has been doled out. And, RECs are essentially going away (a totally stupid idea IMO, even though I'm no longer REC and this blog will soon change its name to The KHIT Blog), so assistance will come at market prices.

Interesting article here, btw, courtesy of my blogger friend John Lynn: One EHR Vendor’s Experience with Meaningful Use Stage 2 Certification.


The latest ONC 2014 Meaningful Use certified EHRs, complete ambulatory systems as of this morning.

47 discrete products, culling the obvious dupes from the paltry 76 presented in the search (e.g., minor upgrade releases to the same basic product). Pretty small cohort relative to the thousands of 2011 certs. Industry shake-out at hand?

Well, there's always Clinic Monkey.

Senators press for EHR interoperability
House and Senate bills also revisit the HITECH Act
With Congress working on a long-term Medicare “SGR fix” in the recent short-term budget deal, lawmakers laid down seeds for addressing issues such as value-based reimbursement and EHR interoperability.
The House and Senate bills also revisit the HITECH Act. Senators John Thune and Mike Enzi, Republicans from South Dakota and Wyoming, added an amendment requiring “interoperability to be achieved by 2017 to be meaningful user under the Electronic Health Record Meaningful Use program,” with rules established via federal committee under the direction of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator.
John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, added a more specific and different amendment, directing HHS to adopt a common interoperability standard by 2017, as part of the rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3...
Yeah, the hardy perennial "interoperability" illusion. I've been barking about that for a long time.
The year ahead in health IT policy
January 07, 2014 | Anthony Brino
In a new year with a new ONC chief, the federal health IT policy committee is taking comments from the public and its many expert workgroups, and then crafting recommendations for the third phase of the meaningful use program.
With an open public comment period ending January 14, the health IT policy committee and its subcommittees and workgroups covering meaningful use, privacy and security, standards, ACOs and more are scheduled to convene dozens of times now through the end of the year, brainstorming, discussing and then rehashing recommendations on key areas of EHR functions and information exchange.
The first and last health IT policy meetings on the ONC calendar for 2014 are both being held by the Meaningful Use Workgroup, chaired by Paul Tang, MD, chief innovation and technology officer at Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
The workgroup is meeting throughout January and February, and on February 4th making a set of recommendations on the issue of meaningful use stage 3 objectives to the full Health IT Policy Committee, which will be chaired by incoming national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD..

More to come...

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