Umbdenstock and Madara said the aggressive Stage 2 deadline is also complicated by the demands for transitioning to ICD-10 by Oct. 1. 2014. "Furthermore, some providers are reporting significant challenges with the usability of their current certified EHRs, a situation that will be exacerbated as vendors channel their efforts to managing a nation-wide transition to the 2014 Edition," the letter stated.
The AHA and AMA said they were also concerned that the existing deadlines would "exacerbate the digital divide" that now exists between small and rural hospitals and physician groups and their larger urban counterparts.
"Given this complexity and level of difficulty, a program with an 'all-or-nothing approach'—in which failure to meet any individual part of an objective, or missing a threshold by a small amount, leads to overall failure in meeting Meaningful Use—is overly burdensome," the letter says. "This seems especially true given that any provider failing to successfully transition to Stage 2 will not only miss an incentive payment but also receive a future payment penalty. Providers who fail to enter the program for the first time in 2014 will also receive future payment penalties."