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Healthcare industry enters meaningful use waiting game

Brian Eastwood | July 29, 2014
After a flurry of activity, there hasn't been much recent news from Washington about the future of the meaningful use incentive program. That has left the healthcare industry to play the waiting game. Few are happy about it.

In addition, CHIME, MGMA, HIMSS and AHA all specifically call for a 90-day reporting period for attestation in 2015. (The current rule calls for the entirety of fiscal year 2015 for hospitals and calendar year 2015 for EPs.) This, the groups say, recognizes that 2015 will be a transition year for providers attesting to meaningful use.

Meaningful Use at Crossroads as Healthcare Industry Waits

These comments emerge as the Medscape EHR Report 2014 suggests that 22 percent of physicians either plan to abandon meaningful use or never supported it in the first place. Previous reports also show that, as of mid-June, only eight hospitals had attested for meaningful use stage 2 in 2014.

At the same time, meaningful use incentives are approaching $25 billion, with more than 4,700 hospitals, 317,000 Medicare-eligible EPs and 157,000 Medicaid-eligible EPs participating. (There are separate Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.) The future of meaningful use may be in question, but the present seems to suggest continued interest in the program or, at the very least, in its incentives.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has stressed meaningful use flexibility for several months now. It has also asked for patience. The more the ONC test the industry's patience, though, the less difference that flexibility may make.


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