CHIME to Feds: Delay Meaningful Use Stage 2

John Commins, February 18, 2011

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has recommended that the federal government push back the deadline for Stage 2 implementation of meaningful use until the impact of Stage 1 on hospitals can be more accurately evaluated.

"Absent such as assessment, we greatly fear that the (Health Information Technology Policy Committee's) proposals for Stage 2 may be unduly ambitious, even unattainable, for many eligible hospitals and eligible professionals," CHIME President/CEO Richard A. Correll and Lynn Vogel, MD, chair of the CHIME board, said in the Feb. 18 letter to Joshua Seidman at Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The CHIME leaders said that seeking public comment about Stage 2 implementation before a proper assessment of Stage 1 "is a big like putting the cart before the horse."

CHIME recommended not moving to Stage 2 until about 30% of eligible hospitals and providers have been able to demonstrate competency with stage 1 meaningful use.

"We believe this approach would strike a reasonable balance between the desire to push EHR adoption and MU as quickly as possible and the recognition that unreasonable expectations could end up discouraging EHR adoption if providers conclude that it will be essentially impossible for them to qualify for incentives," CHIME wrote.

CHIME also suggested that Medicare allow hospitals and providers to "skip a year" if they are not fully prepared to move to the next stage. "CHIME sees no value to imposing some artificial deadline on the movement to stage 2 and urges ONC and CMS to take all the time needed to produce clear and understandable policies. We consider this better than rushing the rulemaking process only to have to repeatedly issue frequently asked questions (and answers) and other policy clarifications and explanations to address provider and EHR vendor confusion and uncertainty," CHIME said in the letter.

To read the CHIME letter, click here.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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