A collaborative of seven organizations, including the American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA) and the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS), has proposed changes to clarify and streamline the process of achieving meaningful use objectives.
“The success of future stages will hinge on the outcomes and lessons learned from Meaningful Use Stage 1,” stated the letter to Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Going forward, everyone realizes much remains to be done.”
The collaborative recommended changes to:
- Reduce regulatory complexity;
- Clarify certification and site certification processes;
- Address providers’ meaningful use resource requirements;
- Clarify and improve registration, attestation and compliance processes; and
- Evaluate regulatory timeline.
To reduce the complexity of the regulations, the group suggested that HHS launch a unified website serving as “the single source of truth” for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s (CMS) meaningful use and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s certification programs. The collaborative also suggested the HHS extend the regional extension center (REC) services to specialist categories, and evaluate the effectiveness of the RECs’ physician outreach and assistance efforts.
To assist and address providers’ resource requirements to meet meaningful use, the authors proposed to “develop and conduct field surveys of eligible providers (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs) and vendors to identify barriers and solutions that enhance participation in the Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Programs. The surveys would be most effective if conducted with both registered and non-registered EPs and EHs.”
To improve registration, the collaborative suggested that HHS publish its process for conducting meaningful use and certification compliance audits, including:
- Clarifying how reliance on FAQs will be viewed from a compliance perspective, particularly given the fact that the HHS Office of Inspector General has included audits in its work plan;
- Identifying the necessary documentation for demonstrating compliance in the event of an audit; and
- Specifying whether requirements in the final rule or clarifications from the FAQs are going to be enforced.
The organization also suggested that HHS publish official CMS guidance on the timeline for the start of meaningful use Stage 2 to enable planning and investments to take place, “followed as soon as possible by publication of associated proposed and final regulations and certification test methods.”
In addition to AHA, AMA and HIMSS, the collaboration included the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, the College of Health Information Management Executives, the Electronic Health Record Association and the Federation of American Hospitals.
Read the 35-page document here.