Hospitals and healthcare organisations are finding it very difficult to meet the different Meaningful Use stage requirements as part of the EHR implementation deadline set by the Federal Government. They are now mounting pressure on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to introduce more flexibility into the medical billing service fees, medical billing review services and the EHR implementation requirements.
CMS Interrogated to Remove the EHR Implementation Penalties
As part of their EHR implementation policy, the federal government introduced an ‘incentive or penalties’ programme, which they thought might speed up the Meaningful Use attestation rates. However, the opposite seems to be happening at the moment. In other words, more hospitals and healthcare organisations are likely to pay the EHR penalties rather than receiving incentive payments from the government.
The Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation figures are particularly disappointing. This has prompted many healthcare organizations to come together and ask for more flexibility in the EHR implementation programme. Obviously, they are asking CMS to reconsider the policy of imposing penalties on those organizations, which are yet to meet the EHR deadlines.
Also, CMS is urged to reduce the Meaningful Use stage attestation periods. The MU Stage 2 attestation period is set to increase in the year 2015. Healthcare organizations are asking for a 90-day MU attestation period. In addition to that, many organizations find the objectives and outcomes mentioned for each of these stages hard to achieve.
They are interrogating for more flexibility in this regard. This issue is apparent in the slow rate, at which the MU stage attestation is indeed happening. Simply delaying the deadline further might not work. There needs to be more flexibility in the EHR programme and the attestation criteria, if the federal government wants all healthcare organizations to adopt EHR software within the stipulated timeframe.
Also, these healthcare organizations are pointing out the fact that there is considerable lack in the technological solutions available to meet the EHR Stage 2 objectives. For example, MU Stage 2 requires the hospitals and healthcare organizations to implement software solutions to set up efficient database networks and information sharing systems so that relevant patient data will be accessible to all the hospitals involved in providing care to the patients. However, the software solutions that will facilitate such a database network are simply not in place and this will take much more time to get off the ground.
Considering all these challenges, CMS needs to provide more wiggle room for the healthcare organizations when it comes to meeting these EHR requirements and also consider scrapping the policy of implementing penalties.