CMS to give physicians more flexibility to meet Meaningful Use 2, scale back Meaningful Use 3

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced changes to stage 2 and stage 3 of the Meaningful Use (MU) program designed to ease the burden on physicians already coping with many regulatory burdens.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced changes to stage 2 and stage 3 of the Meaningful Use (MU) program designed to ease the burden on physicians already coping with many regulatory burdens.

The changes to MU2 include an allowance for providers to request a hardship exemption to avoid the 2015 Medicare penalty if they are unable to attest to MU2 this year. Few details are available yet on what criteria a provider must prove to receive the exemption.

While CMS has announced it will not delay MU2, it has acknowledged that many vendors are not ready for stage 2 or providers are being forced to wait for updates to their software. In addition, the transition to the International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision (ICD-10) is not being delayed, is also a major burden for physicians in 2014. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner made the announcement during HIMSS14 that there would not be another delay in implementing ICD-10, scheduled to go live Oct. 1.

CMS has already extended MU2 through 2016 to give physicians more time to attest.

NEXT: CMS considers scaling back MU3

 

As for MU3, which is slated to begin in 2017, Health Data Management reported from HIMSS that CMS officials are considering scaling back the requirements of stage 3 in order to “make it meaningful while being aware of other regulatory burdens” on providers.

“We don’t want people falling off the escalator,” Elizabeth Holland, director of the Health IT initiatives group in CMS’ Office of E-Health, told Health Data Management. “The balance is on how much to press and push.”