Statement from Thomas A. Leary, MALA, FHIMSS, CAE HIMSS vice president for government relations.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dec. 7, 2013 – HIMSS is gratified that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT have heard concerns from health stakeholders and extended Meaningful Use Stage 2 by one year. This additional time to attest offers an opportunity for increased feedback and analysis on technology implementation, eClinical Quality Measure reporting, and progress toward interoperability that will enhance the ability of eligible hospitals and eligible professionals to meaningfully use health IT, and thus improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of patient care.
After further analysis of the government’s decision to extend Meaningful Use Stage 2 through 2016, we believe our Call For Action to extend Year 1 of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation period still needs to be addressed. Given the challenges some providers, hospitals, and vendors are experiencing upgrading to the 2014 certification, we call on the government to address the timeline and allow at least 18 months in which Eligible Hospitals (EHs) and Eligible Providers (EPs) can attest to Meaningful Use requirements for one quarter.
HIMSS shared its position on extending the deadline for Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation in an Aug. 15 letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner; and then-National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Farzad Mostashari.
The latest data from the more than 5,400 hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics database indicate clear challenges for eligible hospitals and tethered ambulatory care facilities preparing for Meaningful Use Stage 2. These data show:
- Up to 72 percent of eligible hospitals, and
- 44 percent of tethered ambulatory facilities
have purchased the necessary software to attest to the 2014 Certification requirements. We continue to monitor the important issue of upgrades to the correct certified version, but are still concerned that many may still be waiting for the necessary upgrade to the certified version.
HIMSS looks forward to working with the government on the important timeline and readiness issue for Year 1 of Meaningful Use Stage 2. We will continue to engage our stakeholders, chapters, events, and resources to ensure the effective adoption and implementation of electronic health records for improved patient care.
HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.