Stress Levels Rising for Hospitals & EHR Vendors awaiting MU Rules

Healthcare providers and EHR vendors are waiting anxiously for the CMS to release final rule changes to meaningful use regulations. Timing of that release is critical. If the CMS makes the 90-day attestation period available in the final rule, October 1st would be the latest date that providers could begin recording meaningful use data. Until the CMS releases rules, EHR vendors cannot update their systems accordingly. Consecutively, hospitals are left waiting on those upgrades before they can start the next phase of Meaningful Use. And it only gets worse since the exact date when the rules will come out is anyone’s guess. GE Healthcare vice president Mark Segal said changes to the measures themselves from what was proposed in April will likely be minimal. Even still, many providers would like to see clarification on measures for population health management and patient electronic access sooner rather than later.

The American Medical Association intensified the issue with a recent town hall meeting to voice complaints about EHRs and meaningful use, attended and endorsed by House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price, MD (R-Ga). Some members of Congress are proposing ways to block meaningful use in future as the wait for new MU rules continues. GE’s Segal said the added scrutiny from Congress is probably not making things any easier for CMS. However, if the final rule isn’t released soon, the effect of the added proposals will likely not be as significant as originally intended.

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