Smith says that while he understands the government’s motivation in making the 5% rule, it is still a difficult goal to meet. "The government is pushing hard on patient engagement. They figure if providers have skin in the game to get their patient online to actually download their health records then they (providers) will be more proactive and push their patients to use the system."
Premier Health Alliance takes particular pride in its successful efforts to broaden and clarify certain provider definitions, says Randy Thomas, vice president of portfolio strategy and design for Premier. "We have focused on getting definitions clarified so providers can get their share of incentives."
For example, the expanded definition for eligible professional allows physicians who are employed by hospitals, but have invested their own funds in EHR, to now qualify for EHR incentive payments.
Smith anticipates that there will be further tweaks or clarifications for MU Stage 2. But he expects the process to be less intense that for Stage 1. "I think they have a better developed game plan this time. The structure of this final rule seems more mature in terms of points of clarification. I don’t think anything big will change unless there’s a huge uproar that is supported with data."